Finding “unusual” content using Zite

When I open Twitter in the morning I usually see a bunch of education-related articles being shared by my professional learning network (PLN – which primarily consists of other teachers). This is very good; I’ve built my PLN in this way so that I can connect with colleagues and learn from them.

But it can be dangerous to live only in that space, reading and retweeting the same thinking that everyone else is reading and retweeting. We echo each other, and while that can help to encourage and support each other it can also insulate us from other thinking.

Some of the people I follow have edgier thoughts or share content that’s different from the rest of the pack, and I appreciate those posts. I like to branch out.

I use Zite to read “news”, usually on my phone. Zite is a content aggregator that collects based on topics you’re interested in.

I have included “Education” in my Quicklist in Zite, so I’m getting a lot of those same, often-tweeted articles. But the other topics are a bit different, and so I see things that my PLN doesn’t give me:

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Some of the most interesting articles come from Woodworking, DRM, Publishing, and Writing. You can see that I’ve more recently added Java and Statistics.

Rather than just looking at the Home screen view (in which Zite gives me a sampling from each topic) I’ll dip into topics in depth and see what catches my eye. Sometimes it’s just interesting for me; sometimes I think it’s worth sharing:

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Probably most people have other ways to gather content (like surfing, or reading news sites). This is working for me.

What works for you? And if you’re a Zite user, what topics do you find different and interesting?

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