Newsvine – what is it good for?

A while ago I was invited amongst a lot of other people to beta test the new service Newsvine. I know that the title of this post might imply pessimism, but it’s not meant like that; it’s a rhetorical question.

So, first, what is Newsvine? Basically, you have a number of options as a user. You can:

  • Read articles collected from around the web
  • Write your own blog
  • Seed articles, i.e. have a list of links with description to news that you find interesting

Then you can either comment on a post/article, live chat about it or endorse it so it gets a higher ranking. You tag all your posts and articles, and you can search or browse pre-defined categories in a top menu of the web site, or through a search at the top where you can specify a certain tag to look for. You can also add authors or tags to a personal watchlist.

One of the things I miss as a user is a way to only search through the links I’ve tagged as, for instance, “technology”; as of now, if I click such a tag link, I get to see everyones’ posts and links with that tag. Sure, I guess they can implement a so-called tag cloud, but visually, to me they’re mostly annoying.

At first I had a hard time finding any usage for it; there are a lot of different services out there to track news and other information, especially in the technology department, and most people have an abundance of feeds they also follow. I think one of the fundamental ideas of Newsvine is to gather a lot of new and, not to say the least, useful information in one place. So I spoke to one of my Dutch vatos, Mr. Ates, who was trying to convince me that it is indeed a useful service (also, make sure you read his Newsvine: the organic web, organized).

Now I like it a little better, however I’m not really sure I use the service as intended, though. To me, it’s more like a better version of http://del.icio.us/ where I can collect and tag articles, mostly my own that are published here, than for following news. Not sure if this is frowned upon as self-endorsement, but I guess we’ll have to see about that one.

So I guess I feel a bit ambivalent about it all. It might happen, and then again it might not. So far I’m not addicted, but maybe the future and using it some more will change that. I will say one thing, though: I’m really interested in if this will be a hit or not!

Are you already a Newsvine user? Then let me know what you think of it.

 

PS. As of now, Newsvine is invite-only, so write a comment if you want an invitation to check out the service. DS.

66 Comments

  • 1) you can always do your clippings (seeding articles/bookmarks) in a private manner. That way, they're only for yourself to enjoy and not put all over the Newsvine public pages.

    2) You can see your own posts and links by tag by going to yourname.newsvine.com/tag

    Add an optional ?posts or ?links to only filter on those, rather than the default both.

    3) definitely will be interesting to see how this one develops πŸ™‚

  • I am a bit in between, I would say. I recognize the potential it has and I know it should be capable of fullfilling a personal need I've had for a long time. Except I think they're trying too much at the same time, where each pillar of the service has become too little, as you've shown with a simple example already.

    I would really like to use it as my news frontpage, but there are a couple of things that are putting me off. It basically comes down to findability. I've found the UI to be obstructing me in finding the news I am interested in. News of which the source can be AP, written by users, or seeded news.

    As like many in the digital age, I read papers and news sites by skimming through it finding headlines that interest me. These headlines are to me a vital part of finding what I am looking for and even getting a general idea of what's going on in the areas that don't interest me as much. Font sizes are small and due to the lack of any color or larger headlines it's hard to distinguish grouped information from eachother and find my way through the several areas of Newsvine.

    Newsvine is obviously giving the visitor much more control by giving them interactivity and allowing them to publish themselves. As a reader, this interactivity is mostly worthless to me. What I would like to see is a way for me to apply weights to certain categories, allowing me to effectively build my own frontpage.

    In its current state it's still too much of a traditional news collecting website with added interactivity, which is not bad per se, but it isn't just cutting it for me just yet.

    On another note. I fear Newsvine is suffering or going to suffer from the infamous blogger hype.

  • I find it easy to use, and it could sometime in the future be useful, but at the same time it doesn't feel like it has filled some hole in my life I didn't know was there. So at the moment I have to say I am still undecided as to whether it's worth using (for me at least, it could be very useful to some people).

  • Bert de Weerd says:

    Hi Robert,

    Can you invite me? I sure would like to take a peek!

  • Jon H. says:

    Can you invite me? Thanks.

  • I have also got an invite and just now looked around a bit. First impression for me is "dull" I afraid. Everything below the header is just gray and white, with just one big image in the beginning and a lots of lots of text. More images!

    Second impression is that the site really seems U.S. centered with most Regions up to the right being from most states and the U.S. showing up twice in the top toolbar. Isn't U.S. part of World? What did I miss?

    One could describe it as a mix of Google News and del.icio.us. But even though I like the possibility to affect the flow of the news myself I still think Google manages to present news in a more readable way.

    I'll keep checking back to see changes because I know that there are a lot of smart people involved here. But for now I'll use Google News.

  • Pid says:

    Hey fella, if you've got a spare invite left, I'd love to take a look around.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Faruk,

    1) Well, I want to share my great links too! πŸ™‚

    2) True, but not very user-friendly.

    Jeroen,

    Thanks for your feedback, and yes, that's the impression I got too: trying to accomplish too many things at the same time.

    Damien,

    Agreed. Maybe we're not their perfect target group then, but definitely, no previously empty gap has been filled.

    Emil,

    It would be great with some more localization, but still, this is just the first version.

    I never really liked Google News either, so maybe there's something wrong with me… πŸ™‚

    Invitations have been sent to the people requesting it.

  • Carl Camera says:

    Robert,

    In the January 2006 issue of Treehouse Magazine Mike Davidson states that Newsvine starts with standard news articles then lets…

    <blockquote cite="http://treehousemagazine.com"&gt;…people take that information a step further by discussing it, endorsing it, and pushing it to the tops of pages around the site. A system whereby everyone has influence. An editorial meritocracy.

    He makes the point that Newsvine lets people decide what are the important news items of the day rather than newspaper Editors. Sounds scary to me — besides, we know what people think is important: which Hollywood star is cheating on what other Hollywood star, what happened on last night's reality TV show, etc. etc.

    Meritocracy has its limits. Case in point — 1980 Rolling Stone Magazine Survey Results: Best new Group (editors) The Police. Best New Group (readers) The Knack.

    Nevertheless, I predict that Newsvine will become the flashpoint of debate for the 2008 US Presidential election. I'll go further than that: I believe Newsvine was designed to become the flashpoint of debate for the 2008 US Presidential Election. Imagine how each side (and folks from around the world!) will try to "influence" the election by "endorsing" this article's viewpoint or that article's viewpoint.

    That is what I believe Newsvine is good for: consolidation of online political rants and flamewars associated with news stories.

    Still, it's got a great name πŸ™‚

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Carl,

    I haven't read that issue yet, but I'm very interested in the interview with Mike. I think it's both good and bad that people can decide: they get to influence and it seems to be a pretty fair system.

    On the other hand, if/when Newsvine is opened up to the greater public, I think the value of the endorsed news will be a lot lower.

    I really like your predictions about the future president election, but no matter what, I'm pretty sure Hillary will win… πŸ™‚

    The name is definitely a good one.

  • Robert Martin says:

    Hi–

    Newsvine looks interesting–I could use an invite if you have one to spare–

    Thanks in advance–

    RPM

  • backpacker says:

    If you have still one invite left, I’d appreciate it very much to be invited by you.

  • Noah Lantern says:

    What is newswire? Who cares? Do I need it? Who knows? But please spread the love! Invite me! I am so lonesome!

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Robert M, Noah,

    Invitations have been sent. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

  • Maxwell H. says:

    I would really appreciate an invite if you’ve got any left!

    Thx.

  • Dennis says:

    I’ve been hearing alot about newsvine lately and it sounds great. I would love to try it out, please invite! Thanks.

  • Rajat says:

    I would really appreciate an invite……..if you still got any left!

    TIA

  • Robert Nyman says:

    backpacker, Maxwell, Dennis, Rajat,

    I just sent invitations to you. Have fun!

  • spantizzle says:

    if you have any invites left, could you send me one? thanks

  • Miki Dora says:

    Trolling for newsvine invites and I seem to be just behind the power curve every time so far. So here I am, a total stranger, cluttering up your site with more damnfool garbage and asking you to stop in the middle of whatever you're doing and give something to me that someone else is probably far worthier of.

    Ah well, what can I say?

    May I pretty please have a newsvine invite if such is still available for offer?

    Kindest thanks in advance,

    Dora.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    spantizzle,

    Invitation sent.

    Miki Dora,

    Such a motivation just has to be rewarded; invitation sent! πŸ™‚

  • Miki Dora says:

    Robert,

    Just a quick note of appreciation regards the newsvine invite. I shall endeavor to repay the debt by passing invites along to others who seek them.

    Again, many thanks.

    Dora.

    P.S. I have a photo of the exact same moai you have on your posts, looking down at me from the wall even as I type these words. Took it myself while on Easter Island, back in the late eighties. Our guide, Oscar Bunster, referred to it as "Charles de Gaulle," which I thought was quite funny, given its appearance. And yeah, Rapa Nui is a pretty cool place. "Te pito te henua."

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Miki,

    No problem at all, hope you wll lke the service. I might take you up on that offer, since I'm now out of invites… πŸ™‚

    Regarding Easter Island: that sounds great! I rarely meet or talk to people who have been there; if we ever meet in real life we definitely have something to talk about! πŸ™‚

  • Neil says:

    Robert-

    Great information regarding newsvine. I'd love an invite if you have any left. Thanks!

    Oops – just read that you're out…!

  • Jamie says:

    I'd love to try this out. If anyone else has some invites, send one my way. Thanks.

    jstarkel (at) gmail.com

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Jamie,

    I'll ask around and hope I can find someone to send you an invite.

  • Christian says:

    Hi Robert,

    I would like to try and i am looking for somoene may send me an invite.

    Many thanks.

    cceleste (at) gmail.com

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Christian,

    I'll see what I can do.

  • Arley Ramos says:

    Hi,

    i´m from Brasil and always read yous posts here. Very Blog. The content is very interesting for me.

    I saw that you have some invitations to the newsvine service, and if you could pass me one, i´ll apreciate.

    Many thank´s and Have a nice work day,

    Arley Ramos

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Arley,

    Thank you!

    Personally, I have no invitations left, but I'll ask a friend to send you one if he has got any.

  • Keith says:

    Newsvine sounds really interesting in their approach. I hope it can avoid the bashing that has besieged digg recently. I would appreciate an invite if they are still available.

  • Legacy B4 says:

    Caught wind of Newsvine on a blog I read and would love to check out the service.

    Cheers.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Keith, Legacy B4,

    Hopefully invitations should be on their way, from a friend of mine.

  • Presentlight says:

    From what I have read, NewsVine sounds interesting to say the least, especially as a journalist. I would love to check it out. Invite if possible.

    lucas195 (at) gmail.com

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Presentlight,

    An invitation should have been sent from a friend of mine.

  • Mike says:

    still have any invites left. It would be great to take a look.

    Thanks,

    Mike

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Mike,

    You should have received an invitation now.

  • Joe says:

    Sounds interesting. I'd love to check it out. Any invites left?

    Thanks

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Joe,

    Invitation is on its way.

  • Thickey says:

    Could I get an invite please? I will spred the joy in return!

    Thanks

    Thickey

  • Could I get an invite please.

  • Daniel says:

    Hi, mind sending an invite my way too? Thanks!

  • Scott says:

    Could I get an invite too? Thanks! πŸ™‚

  • Joseph says:

    Hey, could I get an invite?

    Thanks!

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Thickey,

    I know you managed to get an account of your own, before I could manage that.

    Daniel, Scott, Joseph,

    I hope you've gotten your invitations by now.

  • Simao M says:

    Hi,

    Can I have an invite?

    Thank you very much

    Simao

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Simao M,

    Invitation has been sent.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Simao M,

    No problem! Enjoy! πŸ™‚

  • g3houdini says:

    Great coverage of newsvine. Addicted to digg. I just started to use delicious…would love to get a newsvine invitation.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    g3houdini,

    Thank you!

    An invitation should be on its way.

  • Gurty says:

    Sounds Great.

    Any invites left?

  • Brian says:

    Looks like I heard about Newsvine about a month late. I'm addicted to Del.icio.us care to feed the addiction by giving an invite? I'd apprectiate it muchly!

    Thanks!!

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Gurty, Brian,

    You should receive your invitations shortly.

  • Marshall Righter says:

    I could use an invite if anyone could spare one.

    Cheers,

    Marshall

    mer66@cox.net

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Marshall,

    An invitation has been sent. Unfortunately that's the last invite I can get a hold of, people, so please sign up at the Newsvine web site to get one by them.

  • I have a few invites left if anyone needs them. Just leave a comment on my site with your email and I will get back to asap.

  • Arg, meant to say (where is the edit button? :P):

    Leave a comment on my site at this link, so I know where to look and the comments stay more or less on the newsvine topic.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Hedley,

    Thanks a lot, I really appreciate you offering this!

  • The seeding feature is by far the best feature. It makes it drop-dead simple to add content. You can argue all you want about the design/ui of the site, but I happen to like it.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Douglas,

    Yes, the seeding feature is really nice.

  • David says:

    Would really appreciate an invite if you have any left!

    Thanks

    Dave

  • Robert Nyman says:

    David,

    I'm sorry, but I'm all out and I don't know anyone else who has got any either.

  • […] ailable now for everyone, so I urge you to go check it out!   Related reading Newsvine – what is it good for? A war of personalization Online feed […]

  • Fitness Diva says:

    Why do you need an invite? Can't you just go to the site and look around without having someone bring you in?

    I'm logging in and getting through on my own..

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Fitness Diva,

    Two years ago, when the service launched and this post was written, you needed an invite.

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