A few weeks ago I read about Twitter Times on TechCrunch and it really piqued my curiosity. The service creates a custom news page for you based on the people you follow on Twitter. It also takes into account the people that your followers follow probably to provide some additional data to help the algorithm calculate the higher priority stories.
I recently wrote about understanding the value of Lifestreaming. In that post I discussed how I’m really looking forward to new apps and services that will provide curated content across the various services that I interact on based on my social graph. Get used to seeing the words “Curate” and “Social Graph” used pretty heavily in the year to come. I’m abusing those words and MG also mentioned them in his post.
Lifestreaming and other technologies have done a fantastic job allowing the masses generate an incredibly large amount of content very quickly. Filtering the noise is a common topic that is discussed as a problem that has resulted from this. The next evolution of Lifestreaming really needs to find ways to tackle this problem.
Which brings me back to Twitter Times. I signed up immediately after MG’s post and was lucky to recently have been provided access to the service. Look at the screenshot below from my latest issue.
Click image to view my current page
You can see that it provides a newspaper / magazine layout that lists all of the items. The items are prioritized based on the number of your followers that tweeted links to the item. The first column provides the “hot” items which appear to be more recent links with an image if available. The right column shows the top stories for a larger range of time. Overall I think this is a great service. It allows me to not worry so much about monitoring my Twitter stream for fear I might miss something. I can just leisurely pull up this page at my convenience and see what the people I follow have found interesting.
I’m sure some people may say that Google Reader is now a good platform for this with their new social features. But unfortunately the barriers are a little higher for that to be effective. It requires you to build a large group of friends on there that will also actively use the service to share items from their feeds. I just don’t see it becoming as effective as Twitter Times which gains it’s content in an arguably more effective way by tapping Twitter.
That said there are definitely some tweaks that would be nice. MG pointed out that Kevin Marks had asked if they could omit links that are sent out by us which makes sense. I would also like to see an RSS feed for the data provided so I can view it in list form if I wanted. Some more interesting tweaks would be to build custom pages based on my Twitter user lists (once that feature goes public). Also if I could add higher weight to certain people I follow. In any case this is a great effort and I continue to look forward to many more apps that take this approach to other services such as Flickr, YouTube, Delicious and the like. And if they do it from all services on one page, well then we have a curated Social Stream. I can dream right?