Many have known Nuzzel as a handy app that picks out trending news being shared by the people you follow on Twitter. Earlier in March they rolled out their next product, Nuzzel Media Intelligence (Intelligence). I gave it a spin and here’s what I think.
In short, Intelligence taps into thousands of stories that Nuzzel already see people share on Twitter every day, and use that information to send you a daily report on a subject you care about. Within minutes, you are ready to receive a report of relevant stories in your inbox next morning.
With the trial plan, I was able to create five reports. They covered topics of AR technology, blockchain apps, machine learning, and, to check out how Nuzzel would stack up against my usual Feedly subscriptions, a report on Apple, Inc.
During the two-week trial, Intelligence reports worked well for me. Each morning the reports arrived nicely in my inbox and I could skim through the headlines with a coffee. At the time I wasn’t subscribing to any news source on AR and blockchain apps, and the reports filled in just right.
A great feature implied in the setup process is, you don’t follow or subscribe to specific sources. Not only does this allow for faster setup, but it is also very helpful for anyone who needs to explore beyond what they usually read.
In a recent article from Wired, Brian Barrett has a brilliant metaphor:
The difference between getting news from an RSS reader and getting it from Facebook or Twitter or Nuzzel or Apple News is a bit like the difference between a Vegas buffet and an a la carte menu. In either case, you decide what you actually want to consume. But the buffet gives you a whole world of options you otherwise might never have seen.
Intelligence reports felt like you are in a buffet place, accompanied by a food critique who picks out the best dishes. It just feels great.
Last but not least, you can add up to 10 recipient addresses for each report. It’s quite handy for keeping a small team updated on the frontmost stories of a certain industry. I didn’t use it with a real team but I can imagine how this may be of help.
On the flip side, there was one thing that stood out about the reports — they didn’t appear timely enough. Stories in the reports sometimes felt late by one or two days, and they seemed more repetitive than desired.
Part of the perceived tardiness came from the fact I couldn’t customize the time at which the reports were delivered. I was living in Beijing and the reports were scheduled for 9am every morning — it makes sense! Unless 9am in Beijing is actually 6pm in California. Combined that with the time it takes curation power of social media to lazily kicks, Nuzzel sometimes failed to pick up trendy stories that happened in the Valley in the afternoon. Many stories, therefore, only arrived on the next day and seemed late by a full day. I think it would be nice to have an option to customize delivery time.
However, not every piece of news is time-crucial as Apple’s next product reveal. It probably isn’t a bad thing at all to share a three-days-old insightful piece on blockchain technology’s evolution.
Another thing with Intelligence reports was, they were somewhat tricky (albeit fast) to set up. When creating a report I was given three fields to fill out: Topic, Keywords, and I. To put this in a non-convoluted way, the report would be stories about words in Topic, containing at least one Keywords, and without any of the words in Filter.
Naturally, I wondered: what should I put in each field? For the Apple report, I put in Apple, Mac, iPhone, iPad, macOS, iOS, and Apple Watch, and left the other two fields blank. The results weren’t so pretty and a guy from Nuzzel actually tweaked my report setup: Topic was changed to only Apple, and Keywords contained news, updates, product, and announcements. Quite a different setup than I had thought.
But on the other hand, the Filter and Keywords fields are only for fine-tuned results. Overall I got pretty good reports by filling in only the Topic field.
In my honest opinion, Nuzzel Media Intelligence offers high-quality reports that only take minutes to set up. You can definitely count on it to stay up-to-date in industries you care about.
I would love to see the reports see more customization options. It would also be nice to have some report templates set up by Team Nuzzel.