Fifth in a series from Attensa.

Using the River of News to Stay in the Flow

Attensa for Outlook lets you choose the way you want to scan and read your feeds. In addition to the Outlook view, you can read your feeds in a “River of News.”

Dave Winer, a pioneer in RSS, coined the term River of News. He uses two analogies to create a mental model for using the River. Think of it like watching boats go by while you sit on a river bank, or think of it like dining at a conveyor belt sushi restaurant. Either way the idea is the same. Interesting things flow by and you get to pick and choose the items that capture your attention.

Here???s his description:

But there’s another kind of reader, an aggregator, that works differently, and I think more efficiently for the human reader. Instead of having to hunt for new stories by clicking on the titles of feeds, you just view the page of new stuff and scroll through it. It’s like sitting on the bank of a river, watching the boats go by. If you miss one, no big deal.

You can even make the river flow backward by moving the scrollbar up. To me, this more approximates the way I read a print newspaper, actually it’s the way I wish I could read a print newspaper — instead of having to go to the stories, they come to me. This makes it easier for me to use my brain’s powerful scanning mechanism. It’s faster, I can subscribe to more, and my fingers do less work.

With Attensa for Outlook you can choose from four article views in the River of News.

Favorites: The Favorites option sorts articles using a sophisticated formula based on the amount of attention you pay to the articles in each of your feeds.

Priority: The Priority option sorts the articles by an even more sophisticated predictive ranking formula based not only on what you read but when you read it.

Date: The sort by Date option displays the most recent articles first, regardless of which subscription those articles belong to.

Article Ranking:  This new approach matches content cues with personas based on our in-depth analysis of reading behaviors and delivers a powerful, personalized, attention-driven reading experience. Attensa’s unique AttentionStream Learning Engine observes and learns from the user’s feed and article reading behaviors and works on the principle that past and present actions predict future behavior. Deep analytics of article content are matched to a personalization system that automatically prioritizes and recommends new articles that will be of interest to the reader. Articles can be prioritized across all of the user’s feeds or they can be prioritized by categories to provide continuous context to the user’s specific interests.

There is no one right way to read feeds. Try all three until you find the view that works best for the way you work.

Drag Your Must Read Feeds to the Top. You can override the formula-based listing by dragging and dropping specific subscriptions to the ???Manual Order??? areas of this window. Move subscriptions to the top if you always want to view the articles in those subscriptions first???the articles in those feeds will always be displayed at the top of the list no matter what weight the subscription has.

You can also drag your least read feeds to the bottom. Move subscriptions that you don???t care much about, but still want to keep available, to the bottom of the list.

Use the automatic prioritization to help you organize your feeds. Every once in a while, start at the bottom of the list to see if there are articles of interest. If there are always the same feeds at the bottom of the list, think about unsubscribing from the feeds and deleting all the remaining articles.