Social Media

Sesame Credit and the Future of Social Credit

Reading Time: 2 minutesWhen it comes to bashing countries for poor internet freedom practices, China usually appears near the top of the list – and with good reason. Perhaps in part that’s because, in contrast with more crude filtering systems adopted in many authoritarian states, the Great Firewall is an almost elegant panopticon […]

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The (In)justice of Algorithms

Reading Time: 3 minutesIn 1956, when Philip K. Dick wrote The Minority Report, the internet wasn’t around. In fact, the internet’s forbears wouldn’t appear until the next decade. But whilst the detection of ‘precrime’ in Dick’s short story was through the power of unfortunate mutants, we are rapidly moving into a present where the power of big data and […]

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What does Siloed Social Media mean for Politics?

Reading Time: 3 minutesThe old adage for dealing with dealing with online abuse was ‘Don’t feed the trolls’ – a statement based on the premise that they could fundamentally dealt with like offline bullies. By refusing to give them the emotional response and the attention which they crave, the argument went, they would get bored and move off […]

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Is Facebook a Technology or a Media Company?
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Here’s a transcript of the presentation

Facebook calls itself a technology company

  • Technology companies should not have political leanings nor bias
  • Meanwhile, a media company has a communicative vision and purpose
  • They do have bias
  • This May, Gizmodo revealed Facebook routinely suppressed conservative news stories in the ‘trending’ section of your news feed
  • A former Facebook worker said:
  • “Workers prevented stories about the right wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even thought they were organically trending among the site’s users”

If Facebook workers tamper with a news feed then your new feed is biased

  • Meanwhile Facebook claims their trending topics are simply popular articles shared around the world

Why should you care?

  • A reader of traditional media can educated themselves about hte biases associated with that content
  • A readwe has no idea how to interpret the articles they read on Facebook
  • Which gives Facebook enormous influential power in how we think

Why should we worry?

  • 1 billion people log onto Facebook every day
  • 60% Americans get their news direct from Facebook
  • With a huge audience – Facebook gets a lot of money from advertisers
  • Which should be going to the publishers
  • News outlets and publishers are closing around the world because they can’t make any money

Could this be the end of an independent, open and varied web?

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Content curation for social media with Cronycle
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curate content for social media

If you’re like a lot of social media marketers, you will spend a lot of time searching for content to post on social media. This is often referred to as ‘content curation‘ and we’ve spoken to marketers who spend up to a day a week finding useful content to post on their networks.

As Neil Patel points out on the QuickSprout blog – curated content on social media account for 47% of all clicks, and given it’s much more time-efficient to curate content produced by other people, than create new content again and again, it’s well worth the time investment to share curated content on social media channels.

But as Neil Patel writes in another blog for Buffer:

“Even though social media tools do the posting for you, they don’t find the content to post. This is your job.”

[quoter color=”aqua”]Even though social media tools do the posting for you, they don’t find the content to post. This is your job.[/quoter]

But what if I told you there is a platform which finds the content to post. What if I told you that you could create your own personalised news feed which goes out to the trusted sources you respect, and delivers interesting articles according to keywords you put together.

How does that sound? Pretty exciting I expect.

A complete platform to curate content for social media

Neil Patel suggests spending half an hour searching for content on various networks.

  • 5 minutes searching for content on Twitter
  • 5 minutes searching for content on Facebook
  • 5 minutes searching for content on LinkedIn
  • 5 minutes searching for content on Google News
  • 10 minutes searching through niche blogs and websites

He then suggests copying all those links and quotes into a document and warns against getting distracted.

I’m suggesting you spend 10 minutes scanning one personalised news feed, automatically posting those links into a board which is attached to the same platform, and given it’s all self-contained, there is no way you can get distracted by click bait articles.

[quoter color=”plum”]I’m suggesting you spend 10 minutes scanning one personalised news feed, automatically posting those links into a board which is attached to the same platform, and given it’s all self-contained, there is no way you can get distracted by click bait articles.[/quoter]

Ok – but you’ve been promised personalised news feeds before. And they get way too much to handle because you are completely inundated with content which you can’t control. So you’ve given up with your personalised news feed.

Cronycle doesn’t just aggregate content together in one place. Cronycle offers you powerful filtering to make sure you’re only served articles which contain keywords that come from your specified sources. This ensures you get a limited number of very relevant articles a day.

[quoter color=”flamingo”]This ensures you get a limited number of very relevant articles a day[/quoter]

A platform to save articles to post for later

A completely customised news feed is great. But when something is running off an algorithm, you want to make sure you are only posting the best articles from that news feed. You need a ‘holding area’ of some description where you can annotate those articles so you know what you may say on each social media platform. This is what Neil Patel was using as an open document – a place to house the best links you’ve curated.

In that holding area, it would be useful if you could post articles which didn’t just come from the personalised news feeds. It would be useful if you could hold articles which you find whilst browsing the web, either on your desktop or on mobile, so you can review which posts you’re going to send out before sending them direct to your scheduler.

You could finally be in control of curating posts to share on social media – and it could take you just 10 minutes a day.

[quoter color=”honey”]You could finally be in control of curating posts to share on social media – and it could take you just 10 minutes a day[/quoter]

Start with Cronycle today

digital content summit

Cronycle does exactly that. Cronycle provides you with a customisable news feed which takes sources you trust and filters them using key words which you provide. Cronycle then has a dedicated annotation space we call a board, where you can pin relevant articles to discuss with your team (if you like) before shipping them out to a scheduling tool.

[button label=”Sign up to Cronycle” url=”javascript:void(0);” class=”initSignup”]

How to create a workflow which is optimised for social media on Cronycle in eight easy steps

  1. Start by signing up to Cronycle. You’ll be given the option to use a select list of Cronycle sources to start a ‘trusted library’. If you don’t already use a news aggregator or twitter to search for articles then this is the best option. If you already have a curated list of trusted sources which you search through then take the other option.
  2. Join your Twitter account to Cronycle to see all the articles the people you follow post through Cronycle
  3. Download the Content Clipper for Chrome or Safari. Whilst you’re browsing the niche sites which you check for interesting content, check to see if they have a relevant RSS source and add that to Cronycle.
  4. Add Google Alerts to Cronycle – so instead of searching Google News, go to Google Alerts. Type in the keywords you usually search in Google News and make sure you get the RSS feed. Add this to Cronycle. More info here.
  5. Hit ‘Create New Collection’ – type in a list of keywords which you would like to be present in the articles in order for them to be relevant for your social media channels. More on this here.
  6. Create a new board and entitle it ‘SocialMediaPosts’ or ‘TwitterPosts’ or ‘FacebookPosts’ – it’s up to you how you organise your Cronycle.
  7. Add articles to the relevant boards as they appear in your news feeds or using the Content Clipper on your browser or mobile device
  8. When you’ve established it’s a good article for social, then hit the three dots and click ‘share on social media’. You can either take the link to post on your scheduler, or post them right away.

And there’s a quick and easy way to curate content for social media.

Don’t just take our word for it…

curate content for social media

This is just one application of using Cronycle. We are also used to curate articles for blog posts, for internal knowledge, and some financial analysts use us to keep up to date with oil prices. But this is a great application for marketers and social media managers and a lot of people are having a huge amount of success with it.

The Cronycle Standard Account

We’ve mentioned a Standard Account. The Standard Account allows you to further personalised your news feeds by adding bespoke sources to your library. It’s incredible value for the amount of time you save. Check out our pricing here.

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Learn more from Cronycle:

Become an expert content creator

How to create unique research-based content 

How to build the perfect source library

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What’s all the fuss about content filtering?
Reading Time: 4 minutes

RSS Reader

A colleague of mine asked me this question a while ago when we were discussing the problem of the facebook algorithm. Here’s how it works: facebook shows you the news that it thinks you’re most likely to interact with. After all, if your second cousin posts endless pictures of things you’re not interested in, it makes sense for facebook to dial back on his updates and dial in some more interesting content from your sister, who posts news articles that keep you informed.

The problem is that, although this sounds fine in principle, in practise it creates a very different environment to the one you would expect. Often news is dialed back to make way for easy ‘clickbait’ type content, or videos are prioritised because they’re more engaging.

So, a computer decides what you get to see and what it will hide. And computers – while they can be incredibly smart – are not always going to make the same decisions as humans.

Over on GigaOm this week, Matthew Ingrams discussed the merits of Twitter vs facebook as a source for news. In the wake of the shocking incidents in Ferguson, Missouri, some people were surprised to see facebook almost completely devoid of news. Twitter was filled with live updates, eye-witness reports, photos and videos of events as they unfolded. Facebook: almost nothing. Why so different? While Facebook has a filtering algorithm constantly trying to guess what you’ll respond to, Twitter shows you everything from the people you follow, so you’re going to receive all the updates from people you follow in your timeline, whether you’re likely to retweet them or not. While Facebook is trying to be your personal shopper, hand-picking items it knows you’ll like, Twitter shows you all of the products in the shop.

The Twitter model is great, for a while, and gets around this initial problem of algorithmic filtering. Unfortunately, because you see everything, it can be incredibly difficult to keep track. We humans are, and always have been, fans of filtering and sorting. Even before the internet age, when we were bombarded with data from all sides, we’d rarely seek out everything – choosing instead to curate our sources (by buying a specific newspaper, or watching a particular news channel, for instance). To continue the shopping analogy, Twitter gives you the option of seeing every product, but there are so many on such a fast-moving conveyor belt you barely have time to examine something before twenty other things have gone whizzing past.

Can there be a balance? Well, there are a couple of possible ways to solve this problem. Method one – the one which facebook is trying is to simply make automated filtering better. Facebook tries to improve the algorithms so that they don’t get too one-sided, or churn out too much similar content – their priority is to keep you on the site and get you using it a lot, so ultimately if their algorithm is stopping you from doing that they’ll improve it. Twitter is also tweaking what shows up automatically on the timeline – recent changes to how ‘favourites’ are displayed have met with opposition from users, but it’s one of many experiments to try and make Twitter feel like a more  ‘usable’ place. To engage new users, Twitter is trying to introduce a form of content curation that makes it easier for people to find what they love.

Will either of these techniques work? Possibly. But one of the reasons we started Cronycle is that we think there’s a better option. Not better algorithmic filtering – because it will ultimately always run into the ‘machine’ problem – but applying a layer of human curation to the deluge of content.

Human curation is the solution to algorithmic content filtering

Cronycle takes all of your sources (the RSS feeds you subscribe to, the Twitter accounts you follow) and indexes all of the important content (anything that includes a link or image is pulled through). You can then filter and curate those posts into a collection based on criteria you choose – you can add a filter for the latest breaking news story, for example, filtering in only content from the news teams you really trust. You could have a different collection for updates on a particular area of industry, which gathers articles from expert sources that you’ve chosen yourself.

There’s a certain amount of machine help here, for sure – you’re not creating your own newspaper. Cronycle is useful because it helps you cut through the noise, and prevents you having to scroll through reams of irrelevant content just to get updates on the latest news story or blog post. But the key difference between Cronycle and any algorithmic filtering system is that you won’t run into the ‘facebook problem’ – machines pushing you content based on simplistic models of your behaviour. You choose the sources, you set the filters, and Cronycle indexes that content. Unlike facebook, it won’t ever second guess you.

Published on 21.08.2014 by Marina Cheale

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In the wake of Google Reader and the midst of social media’s reign, the RSS feed chugs along

RSS allows publishers to syndicate information automatically, to deliver content right to users’ fingertips.  They no longer have to check their favorite sites to see if new content has been published—technology does it for them.  But these days, that convenience is commonplace.   Social media enables an even larger audience not only to receive content from the sites that interest them, but to become publishers themselves.  Although few are questioning that RSS has a space in the digital content consumption marketplace, many contend that the space may be shrinking—a theory bolstered by the demise of Google Reader.

Google retired its service, which was the most popular RSS reader, on July 1, 2013, explaining, “While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined.”  (However, many believe this decision had more to do with office politics and Google’s plans for its own social network, Google+.)  A host of worthwhile services, including This Old Reader, Feedly and Flipboard, were ready to take in the millions of Google transplants, but although RSS still has a fierce and loyal following, social media is proving a sufficient alternative for the average user.

“We definitely see more publishers using the option for social networks versus the option for RSS,” notes Bruce Ableson, vice president of client solutions at LiveFyre, a tech company that offers a suite of real-time products that allow users to curate content from various sources and host in one place.  “We still use RSS Feeds all the time, though, especially at the smaller publisher level,” he says.

Although there’s still a huge need for RSS, Ableson notes that publishers seem more incentivized to drive readers to follow them on social networks than to subscribe to their RSS feeds.

“It’s perfectly possible that for many, social media is the new RSS,” says Rob Hicks, founder and chief data scientist of Bright North.   “RSS was all about putting alerts in one place, which is exactly what Twitter does because most media sites have at least added, if not replaced, their RSS with Tweets.”

The problem is, there is a lot of noise to get through.  Twitter isn’t only about signifying a new piece of quality content.  It’s a hodgepodge of hashtags and interactions, making it difficult for users to quickly identify what’s worth reading.  “It makes sense that brands and publishers have embraced Twitter, but whether it does as an effective job as a good RSS consuming platform is another story.  I don’t think it does,” Hicks opines.

What Twitter does do well, of course, is the social aspect.  “Social networks give people the ability to recommend stuff and become pseudo-publishers even if they haven’t written the content they’re sharing.  I might follow someone because they are excellent curators,” says Hicks.  “It adds a new level of curation which you could argue is more valuable than the original RSS thing was in the first place.  I’m not sure I would agree, but I see the argument.”

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