I’m seeing a virtual snowstorm of recent products and services that are trying to find ways to “snowflake” their offerings. My fellow Snowflake Effect partner (and one of my favorite snowflakes) Erik Duval recently posted an example “Snowflakes at Time Magazine” showing how publishers are sticking their toes into this space.
These newer examples are also incorporating and addressing the context of “attention”; that is, what do we as unique individuals pay attention to, want brought to our attention, etc. Read on to see what I mean.
Ohpan, a free personalized and interactive feed of breaking news, photos, weather, etc. is another recent example of a new service for highly personalized news from the web design company AType Studios. TechCrunch, which I find to be an excellent source for such news, had a good review of this on March 6th called “Ticker Feed Ohpan Offers Uber-Personalized News”
We’ve seen some earlier attempts to help us get “just the right” news items—ones where where you indicate topical interests and can build your own newspaper with GoogleNews and many other offerings. However, I see examples such as Ohpan’s technology as being a significant step up in the evolution of this kind of Snowflake Effect decision support, because it is adding more context from us individually, something it learns from our online behaviors: which sites we visit, what we save or forward to others, etc.
There are also links to social sites that more of us are using, such as Facebook, as well as links to Gmail and Twitter. Of particular note is their provision of a feedback loop, so I can interact and provide more context by indicating individual news items I particularly like and either want more or less of, plus the option to share these choices with others. In my experience, this linking capability adds significantly to the overall “network effect” of improvement. I’m also increasingly delighted by the way this is providing the critical serendipitous discovery of news, sites, people, etc.
One of the more noteworthy items, which AType is apparently going to offer next, is the same feedback loops for advertisements, enabling us to indicate ads that we like, want more or less of, use, recommend to others, etc.
All of this is VERY much worth watching. This whole area of decision support is something I highly recommend that we all keep an eye on as these sites develop, improve, and evolve faster and faster and get better and better.