Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

The “Zitegeist”

And the phenomenon of user-selected aggregation
No longer necessary to sift through websites, Google listings or even physical pages, Zite gives users the information they want from multiple sources in one location.

The Zeitgeist, a movement whose name has been re-appropriated to discuss issues of cultural importance and contemporary sensibilities, has become a technological concept. With the personalized news aggregation application Zite, available on most tablets and smartphones, users can create their own personalized magazine that shows articles about the topics they care about most. With continual use, Zite also learns user preferences, making the presented information truly customized to the sensibilities of the reader.

Zite, which likely gets its name from either a riff on the word “zeitgeist” or a combination of the words “zine” and “website,” is indicative of the direction news and information is going. No longer necessary to sift through websites, Google listings or even physical pages, Zite gives users the information they want from multiple sources in one location. The ability to receive information in this fashion is arguably good and bad. On one hand, the convenience of this application is actually getting users to read the news. On the other, it allows users to become so insulated by their own preferred sources that biases are surely to be perpetuated. The qualitative value of this application, although debatable, is irrelevant. However, it is the future of news, and personalization and convenience are only going to become more important to consumers.

Although many local news sources do not have this ability, perhaps it is time to look into it. Your readers want local news, however, because of applications that enable the convenience that apps like Zite do, they are probably unlikely to sift through the paper. Even though you probably don’t have the technology or software to provide your consumers with only the information they desire, there are ways to “fake” a more customized and specified news feed. 

Try using a more nuanced approach to Twitter. Instead of a central Twitter feed for your newspaper, try breaking your feeds down into a few different accounts. For example, consumers in your area may only want to know the weather forecast. So, instead of including it in your overall feed, create an account that only tweets weather updates. You can do the same for crime watch, school schedules and other categories.

You can also enable the other social media giant, Facebook, to create special sections pages. Before news aggregation apps, special sections were how news sources targeted individuals. Why not create special sections pages for your newspaper on Facebook? You can have a constant feeds with news and advice about the subjects people want to hear about.

Personalized news is the way of the future, or at least part of it. And although newspapers may not have the technology to enable it right now, think about ways to make the news you put out to your community as personal and nuanced as possible. Twitter is a great resource, because it has unlimited reach and potential, as does Facebook. Use these unique and creative solutions to help bolster your social media and personalized approach to news to both stay relevant and give your readers what they want.