Do You Need Help Sifting Through All the News?

    July 13, 2010
    Chris Crum

Many news consumers are increasingly relying on human-edited news aggregation and content curation to sift through their news and establish trust. While not all mainstream media sources are thrilled about the concept, it’s just how it is, and there is no doubt that plenty of people from that world are relying on these things themselves to one extent or another.

The New York Times ran a piece about the aggregator TechMeme this week, putting such sites in the spotlight. Another such site, Spotery (formerly Ispotastory), launched today as well. Spotery CEO Limor Elkayam shared some insight into the significance of human-edited news aggregation and content curation with WebProNews.

"’Information Overload’ is a common problem, and finding great pieces of content within the constant flow of status updates is getting harder and harder," says Elkayam. "Some sites use algorithms, but they can easily be gamed, and people love to try and game them; some recent examples include Google’s and Twitter’s trending topics."

"Algorithms are great for finding information, but nothing can replace a person reading something, figuring out if its written well or is funny, or gage whatever sentiment is meant and deciding if they should recommend to others or not," she continues. "It’s why the Facebook Like button is so popular, or Twitter’s Retweet function is so heavily used."

"For the relaunch of Spotery, we took that recommendation aspect on an unbiased level," says Elkayam. "A lot of times, friends like and share similar content within the social Web, and we wanted to give people the day’s top stories without focusing on one or two topics. At a glance, a Spotery user can quickly and easily take a look at any category page and get updated with the day’s top news."

Spotery - formerly iSpotaStory

"We realize the importance of every person submitting content to the site, which is why we have a livestream and the ability for people to follow each other and share stories, but our editors filter through the stories that are submitted so that no one can game our system," she says.

"We also recognize that the future of news on the Web will continue to overload consumers with information," she adds. "We want to help people filter through the status updates and find what is valuable and interesting to them by providing an editorially-enhanced platform to find and share the day’s top news."

While not all of the news industry happy with the direction things have been going in, there is no doubt that there is a demand for the kinds of services sites like Spotery, TechMeme and a slew of others provide. Frankly it’s probably in the news consumers’ best interests that there are a lot of such sites, because when human-editing comes into play, there is still trust to be established – with the curation of content, as well as the content itself. As long as there is a human involved, there is room for bias, and more choice means more room to use your own judgment as a reader.