Friday, February 3, 2012

News Notification by Email Services

I have a Yahoo email account that I've never quite been able to get rid of for some reason. I use it to sign up for whatever service when I'm not really ready to commit, because I don't want my primary email spammed and interrupted by promotional crap (which it is anyway).

This morning I got an email from my friends at LinkedIn. I don't know anyone there but I was user number 3001 or something, so it feels like we've been through a lot together over the past 7 or 8 years.

But I'm skeptical. The subject is "The 7 things you need to know in the news this week". So ok, I'll bite. I open it up, skeptically thinking they couldn't possibly know what I care about or what interets me.

And I'm wrong.

Six of seven catch my attention and they are now open in my browser, including yet another article on the amazing growth of Pinterest, P&G laying off people after spending a huge amount on advertising, and something on company culture.

Some of my industry friends have services like this. Kevin Marshall's KnowAboutIt is the most accurate, but about a quarter of the stories catch my attention. More than half are things I read anyway. There's always one gem in there.

William Mouyagar's Equentia Semantic Portal (William, ya gotta rename that!) has maybe one nugget that works for me. William's new thing is going to be really cool pretty soon--great start for Engag.io

Others I've tried simply don't offer any gems--it's mostly recaps of stuff I've already read or I don't care about.

This stuff is hard, I imagine. Most of these services seem to think relevance has something to do with association. The numbers don't bear out.

But LinkedIn nailed it today. I haven't opened any of its earlier entreaties, so I'm going to review a few of them to see if it holds up.

My feeling about news notification services is that they don't really do it for me. I don't feel like I'm learning something new, and definitely feel like there's more stuff out there I want to see.

So I go to Twitter and Facebook for general interest timewasting and connecting, and through that I come across stuff I like (presented through friend, so association too), and directly to news sites. News.google.com is my first stop.

I'm not sure what my point is here. I'm thinking a lot about notifications and what makes them work or not work. The next time I see one from LinkedIn, I'll probably open it.

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