Jan tipped me off to FeedHub. This is a beta attempt at filtering lots of RSS feeds. I have to admit I’m not 100% what it tells me, but it appears to be doing some kind of text analytics on my feeds. It then personalize a structure around those feeds. The goal is to reduce RSS clutter and noise, so I can focus on the topics and subjects I want to (so they claim).
Here is what mSpoke, the creators of FeedHub, have to say about its inner workings in a blog post:
“Very simply, we learn about you based on the implicit usage of your personalized feed and any explicit gestures you choose to share with us. We use this information to distill a set of “memes” that describe your preferences. Each meme represents some characteristic of a post, like its topic, popularity in del.icio.us, or number of Diggs. Each meme also has a strength that indicates how predictive FeedHub expects it to be in choosing content you’ll like. As we learn about you, FeedHub automatically discovers new memes for you and strengthens or weakens memes appropriately.”
So you basically give FeedHub your feeds as a OPML file, it analyzes them for you, and then builds a profile of your interests that you can manage and customize.The basic building block of all of this is what they are calling a meme, or an extracted category.
I’m quite confused about the overall experience and how this really helps me make sense of the feeds I currently subscribe to. If anyone has more experience with it, I’d like to hear about it.
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First of all, I should say that I am a the VP of Product Management at mSpoke the company that created FeedHub.
Thank you for taking a look at FeedHub! I’m sorry that the overall use case wasn’t clear.
FeedHub’s goal is to leverage a user’s memes to filter all the content from feed sources they are already subscribed (imported via OPML upload) to but can’t keep up with and provide it back to the user in a *new* personalized feed.
They can subscribe to this personalized feed in the feed reader of their choice. This helps users stay informed without being overwhelmed.
Does this make more sense?
Again, thank you for the post James. It is clear from scanning your blog you are an impressive Interaction Designer so I really appreciate your feedback. I’d love to continue the conversation either via email or in the comments here.
I actually likes some of the interaction design on the site in general. The help bubbles are quite nice.
I didn’t get the memes and the interface for managing them though. And that seemed to be the core of the offering. Maybe my paltry 60 feeds wasn’t enough for it to be useful?
The memes suggested to me didn’t seem to have anything to do with my interests or my posts. There wasn’t one for “Information Architecture” for instance, but I did have “Yogurt; carbonated.” Why is FeedHub suggesting that I filter my posts by carbonated yogurt? I don’t even like yogurt.
Clicking on the Topic link on the right or the Category link doesn’t produce what I expected. I’m still not sure what a topic is. I’d have expected to create a category differently too.
That said, I like the concept of what FeedHub is trying to do. I just didn’t get it at first (and still don’t get parts of it).