Plotting the Relevancy Frontier

A few days ago, I wrote a post entitled 5 Ways to Tackle Information Overload. Today I want to plot out current tools and what we can learn from their value and usability.

I call this the “Relevancy Frontier”.


Source: My own mind. 🙂

While the exact positioning for each site is not the point, what the above shows is a wave of tools that are doing the best they can to make the internet more relevant while also being easy to use.

If you agree with me, note that the newer services tend to be better than the older ones. I’d expect this trend to continue indefinitely, with some exceptions. Only services committed to constant innovation will survive.

Some specific comments about the services:

  • Google Reader (or any feed reader) is a great tool – as long as you can feed it relevant feeds. While Google Reader Recommendations now solves part of the problem, the issue with discovering relevant material is still a lot of work.
  • The promise of APML via services like engagd and particls has great promise. While we need great algorithms to extract out APML, what we need even more is competition among services striving to make use of the APML. Related, DataPortability will provide further opportunities for increased relevancy and ease of use.
  • Siphs is a lean and hungry startup that, among other things, has a social email tools, widgets, link blogs, and pretty much a lot of things. They’ve done a lot of great work with just two employees – and I expect more adaptation from them over the next years.
  • Twitter is amazingly simple, but it’s very easy to choose relevant people to “follow”. This makes the simple stream of messages highly relevant.
  • Speaking of being able to easily find relevant people to “follow”, LinkRiver does the same thing for link blogs. This site is only a few weeks old.

A full review of all the sites is being the scope of this post. Rather than harp on the “dogs”, a common thread among the sites on the Relevancy Frontier are a spirit of continual innovation.


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