(This is another in a series of posts evaluating smartphone apps that aid the creative process.)
What It Is : Zite is an application for smartphones and tablets that helps readers find interesting content on topics they select as important. As the company explains on their blog:
“Zite evaluates millions of new stories every day, looking at the type of article, its key attributes and how it is shared across the web. Zite uses this information to match stories to your personal interests and then delivers them automatically to your iPad or iPhone.”
How It Works: Open an account once you have downloaded the app and Zite will guide you through a topic set-up. You can add more topics later based on your Twitter or Facebook feeds, or delete ones you don’t like. You can then review your news feed either topic by topic or through the “top stories” mixed feed.
- Ability to “like” and share stories
- Thumbs up / Thumbs down buttons on content allows user to see more or fewer stories of that type
- Can play audio and video in app
- Your Top Stories mixes all feeds together
- Suggestions provided for new additional feeds
- No way to adjust profile settings once it is set up – I think it is drawing on the Twitter and Facebook feeds on the mobile device and if you want to change what feed it draws from, there is no easy way to do that.
- The settings tab takes you to a lame FAQ page on Zite’s blog and an email link to support – extremely misleading!
I evaluated Zite with an eye to its suitability as a tool for creative cross-pollination. It has proven to be useful in that regard, although the flaws I pointed out related to the profile settings limit its ability to provide content if you divide your digital life across several social media accounts.
Zite recently began a series of interviews with VIP users. Several of those profiled are creatives and their answers shed additional light on the potential of the app as a creative tool.