Brainchild of Harvard sophomores, Axel Hansen and Jonah Varon, Newsle made the news back in 2011, when the beta-by-invitation was reviewed by Techcrunch. And then, again in late February 2012, when it finally exited stealth mode, opening for public use. It was featured on the Huffington Post, Mediabistro, and a wealth of other sites. So how did I miss it? Too busy, I guess. But now, that my account is live, I cannot help but share the newsle with the world.
Newsle is by far the best news aggregator ever created, because it focuses on people. I’ve always believed that people make the news, and while other news aggregators focus on topics, Newsle gets things right. The beauty of Newsle, however, is that it helps you filter results about people on categories – like, tech, business, authors, journalists, athletes and so on.
But the true value comes from Newsle capability to aggregate news about people in your close social media circles on Facebook and LinkedIn, or about your Gmail contacts. This feature shows you who are your most “famous” friends (meaning those who appear in the news more often), the trending people that make the news, and the most famous people in fields like business, technology, politics, and so on. When you click on a user’s avatar, you land on a user’s page, which shows the latest news about that person, similar people, and Twitter feeds.
Newsle will automatically notify you on news about your friends, but you can also choose other people to follow, if you are interested. Sure, you argue, you could do the same with Google alerts. Not quite. For starters, Google alerts doesn’t have such a pretty UI, and it requires you to go through a time-consuming process of “creating” a special alert for each topic of interest (aka: keyword phrase). Then, the results are many times irrelevant.
Relevant for More than Newshounds
Newsle is surprisingly relevant, and it even helps you find “related” people – not as in “relatives,” but as in “with similar interests.” This is a great way to finding like-minded professionals. Following their news keeps you up-to-date, in-the-loop, with what’s new in your industry.
Someone, somewhere, wrote that Newsle seems most useful to newshounds. Maybe. But I find it equally valuable to discover people, although I still cannot figure out how to contact them directly on Newsle. Fortunately, their Newsle profiles are linked to the social media profiles they provided when they joined the network (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) so contacting them is not impossible.
Another good value I see in Newsle is that it gives each user a Newlse rank, which shows how prominent that user is in the news. The rank is calculated based on how often the user is in the news, how prominent those news sources are, how much coverage refers to the user, and how many different sources mention that user. Basically, the higher the Newsle rank, the more influential that user is.
This is how you can identify industry influencers, and act to become one yourself. If you follow what they are doing, and where they appear in the news, you can develop a good strategy for yourself. For many PR professionals, Newsle should be a must.