Frequently, I am asked the question: “how do you find new material to write about on your blog?” Material comes from many sources and the size of my info-flow is directly related to my obsessive curiosity about stuff in general and technology and business development in particular. I fuel that curiosity with a number of web-based tools.
I have discussed RSS and the able reader programs out there in prior posts. I have highlighted Twitter search functionality, Friendfeed and a few other tips and tools to refine the process of fishing for value in the endless internet stream here in the Studio.
Lately, I have been looking to streamline my content in even more effective and efficient ways, as well as pull from new sources that I haven’t yet tapped. My two newest information mining and massaging sources are Feedly and Lazyfeed. I will be highlighting Lazyfeed in this post.
Lazyfeed is a real-time, streaming RSS reader, akin to Google Reader and Newsgator Feeddemon in some ways, and unique in others. It’s main selling point is that Lazyfeed does not require that you search, select and manually input your desired RSS sources. Instead, Lazyfeed pulls blog posts for you based on your selection of topics of interest or “tags.” For those who are unfamiliar with “tags”, they are a form of metadata keyword assigned to any sort of digital information that offer an easy means for sorting and searching that information at a later date.
Lazyfeed’s main screen shows an ever-changing lists of posts on hot topics of general interest at the top and a list of saved tags that shift as new information bearing the tags is found. There also are Getting Started buttons that allow you to: tap an overview; find Hot Topics; manually enter topics of interest; start getting Live updates; access your saved stuff; and, tie in your own topics for “Lazy Me” by entering your own tagged accounts, like blogs, delicious bookmarks, flickr, Twitter, etc., for a more personalized experience.
Here is a shot of my home screen here:
You can see my saved tags on the left. Clicking on the tag will show me all results bearing that tag.
How do you enter these tags? Lazyfeed allows you to browse the streaming topics and “save” any of interest. You can enter tags in the search box or click on tags on the browsing screen to redirect to more relevant information. Once you “save” a tag or entry, it will show up on the left side of the page, updating continuously as new information bearing the same tag is developed. As new content in a particular topic comes through, that topic is shifted to the top with bold text, to get your attention. By “saving” a tag, you can then come back later to access it and give it a more thorough read. Lazyfeed will also offer related tags to flesh out your feed with even more relevant information.
Lazyfeed’s interface shows synopsis of the RSS results in an easy-to-scan organization. When you click a post title, the entry expands and offers you the ability to go off-feed to the actual post.
With the “Lazy Me” topic generator, the relevant tags from your selected sites are produced on Lazyfeed in real time updates. For example, from your Twitter account, all hashtags bearing your selected tag will be streamed in. All tags from Flickr photosets will be pulled and provided. Delicious bookmarks bearing your selected tags will be harvested. And all blog posts from blog sites that you manually input that bear the appropriate tag will also find their way into your “Lazy Me” feed.
A downside is that you cannot save or share posts to other applications or services, like Twitter or Friendfeed with a single, on-site click, but are certainly workarounds, such as sharing buttons in your browser (hello Firefox!) and clipping / snipping tools in applications such as OneNote and Evernote.
I first learned about Lazyfeed from Louis Gray’s post on the subject as the service was debuting about a month ago and have been playing with it ever since. I find it to be a great supplement to my existing readers as it allows me to pull relevant information from other sources not already in my reader subscription lists. I highly recommend heading over to Louis’ great post offering a more thorough description of its benefits.
There is much about Lazyfeed’s look and feel that remind me of Skygrid, the real-time financial news aggregator that sorts information by corporate symbol, rather than tag. The everchanging, shifting list of news blurbs looks very familiar, while the information sources and triggers are clearly targeted at different audiences.
If you are a looking for novel, up-to-the-minute sources for news in the real-time realm (who isn’t on the internet these days?), then Lazyfeed is well worth your time investment. It is still in invite-only beta, and I believe you can request an invite from them. I also have been given three invite codes and I am more than happy to send them along to the first three people who email me at the address under my contact page.
Happy (lazy) hunting!