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Getting the Most from #Summify: How It Works

This is the first part of an ongoing series that will help you better understand how Summify works and how you can get the most out of your summaries. First things first. In order to improve something you need to understand it.

You all know that Summify automatically identifies the most important news stories for you across all of your networks, but how does all that actually happen? Does it have something to do with extra-terrestrial beings from Area 51? Well that’s confidential, but here’s a few things we can say.

How do the algorithms work?

Plug in your social accounts > links are collected > links are filtered > summary arrives!

Accounts

You can plug-in three types of social accounts to Summify: Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader. How many accounts can you plug-in from each service? There is no limit for Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader, add as many as you have!

Collecting links

Once you’ve chosen which accounts to connect, Summify begins analyzing them, collecting all the links found in your news streams. Currently only links to articles (text-based links) are collected. Summify does not consider any other link types: e.g. youtube links, audio links, download links etc. But hey, things change pretty fast around here, so you never know what’s next.

Filtering links: cut the S***

The Summify algorithms use dozens of signals, but in general news that has been shared, liked and retweeted a lot by your friends is considered more important. However, not all of your friends are equal and we pay special attention to those who you interact with more. Global popularity signals such as the total number of times a link is tweeted, or liked and shared on Facebook are also considered, but are less important than the sharing activity of the people closest to you.

Filtering links: learning

The Summify algorithms are also fans of learning. As you continue using Summify, we analyze your click history and understand your interests to further improve your story recommendations.

We understand your interests indirectly by looking at what you click on. We notice if you tend to click more on stories:

  • from a particular user on Twitter, Facebook, or a certain RSS Feed;
  • from a particular domain or with common keywords in the story title; and
  • if you prefer Twitter stories more than Facebook stories.

We hope that this break down has helped you understand how stories make the cut into your summary. On average, for each story that makes it into your summary we reject 150 other less relevant stories, so with Summify you’re reading only the good stuff. Not only is this a huge time saver, it also makes your Twitter and Facebook experience more useful.

To gain a greater perspective on the volume of news being shared and the amount of stories being filtered from your summaries, check out our recent Social Sharing Infographic.

Finally, if you haven’t seen it already, take a peek at our “What is Summify?” video to get a helpful visual representation of some of the things we just covered. Next up: optimizing your summaries.

Social Arrives at #Summify with Personal Profiles and Explore

At it’s face, Summify is a nice simple way to summarize your news. You receive 5-10 stories every so often, you read them and you’re done; that’s it. But there’s something more behind those pretty little collections of stories you read via email, web or iPhone; something that glues them together. People. Your friends and network connections are the ones helping to create your news summaries every time they like, share, retweet and comment on content. It’s time you got to know them a little better.

Enter “Profile” and “Explore,” building blocks for a larger vision of news being social, allowing you to discover more stories and the people behind them.

Profile – your new home

Your new home is found at: http://summify.com/USERNAME.

Hold on, this looks like my Summary! It’s actually quite a bit different, at least it will be soon. Your Summary page is always changing, so we wanted to give you a permanent home, allowing everyone that comes by your page to get a quick snapshot of:

1. Who you are – your username, profile picture, personal bio, and social accounts

2. What you read – the middle portion of the page lists your summaries using the first title from each, and showcases the people in your network who contributed to create them

3. Who’s in your network – the right side of the page displays profile pictures from the people in your social networks that are also on Summify: those you follow and your followers.

We admit, your Profile page may not look groundbreaking at the moment, but have no fear, this is only the first peek. Thanks to social media each of us is now a “publisher” (you share stuff) and a “curator” (people look at what you share) and your Profile is laying the foundation for what is coming next. Excited? So are we.

 

Explore – navigate your social world on Summify

1. Find the Explore button + know the numbers

Explore button – just underneath your profile picture

Following – the number of people that you are following on your social networks, and have a Summify account

Followers – the number of people that follow you on their social networks, that have a Summify account

2. Pick a place to Explore; you have three options:


 

3. Discover your friends, new people and their news

explore

Basic info – the username, profile picture, and bio of each user; click their username to explore.

Account info – the social accounts which that user has plugged into Summify; click an account to view it.
 

Exploring beyond your network

Just like you explore your own network, you can also explore the networks of others on Summify. Simply find the person that you’re interested in and click the Explore button on their page.

Now go on! Discover some new stories and the interesting people behind them. Which of your friends are on Summify? Who should be?

Thank you to all of you who have completed our survey and have shared your thoughts with us. Your responses and comments have proved both interesting and useful. We hope you enjoy your new Profile and Explore. Let us know what you think.

Launch@Grow Highlights from #Summify

Team Summify - Launch@Grow 2011

Team Summify (minus Mircea)

We have lift off. Last week’s Launch@Grow launch party to the 2011 Grow Conference celebrated the blast-off of 15 of Canada’s top early stage startups, as chosen by Canadian and Silicon valley judges.

With a fashionably late arrival, Team Summify setup shop quickly and got ready for an evening of mingling. Thanks to Bootup, beer, bunnies, and a little foosball, a great time was had by all. Here’s the highlight reel:

Foosball: Summify vs A Thinking Ape
Nim represents for Summify in @athinkingape‘s foosball tournament, and Urbandig brings a party bunny.

demonstrating summify at launch@grown
Our favorite part was mixing with everyone and getting to talk with current and potential new Summifyers. It’s always interesting to see how people react to our value proposition, and it’s even nicer to talk to loads of people who already use and love the service.

Summify's super hero trophy - Launch@Grow 2011Summify Victory - Launch@Grow 2011
Summify was among the four winning startups chosen to pitch to Silicon Valley Angels and VCs at Under The Radar on Day 2 of the Grow Conference. Cristian Strat stepped up to pitch Summify to the high-caliber tech judges; some of which are already active Summify users. He had a great experience and we would like to thank you for your valuable insights and tough questions:

Wesley Chan, Investment Partner Google Ventures

Jeff Clavier, Founder and Managing Partner SoftTech VC

Rob Hayes, Managing Partner First Round Capital

Lars Leckie, Partner Hummer Winblad

Eghosa Omoigui, Founder EchoVC Partners

Aydin Senkut, Founder and President Felicis Ventures

A congratulations is also in order to the promising companies who joined us to pitch on Day 2: Unbounce (pitch winner), Tiipz and Rocketr. Great work!

Mircea with Dave from Hootsuite
Dave from Hoosuite is so cool that someone made a cardboard cut-out of him. We’re big fans of Hootsuite and @daveohoots so we got in on the action. Be sure to check out his Vancouver, BC craft beer tour on Urbandig.


From the launch party to the after party – as if @dannyrobinson hasn’t got enough of us, he made Mircea swallow some helium and attempt to pitch Summify again. Romanian helium accents are fantastic.

Launch@Grow Summary

For some of you, and our camera, the night may have been a little blurry. In case you need some help to remember all the cool companies that you bumped into, we made a Launch@Grow Summary just for you (click the images for a readable size):

Launch@Grow 2011 Summary FrontLaunch@Grow 2011 Summary back

Finally, thank you to Grow Conference 2011 organizers Debbie Landa and Jasmine Antonick of Dealmaker Media and our friends at Bootup for an amazing Launch@Grow event. For more on everyone behind the event and photos check out Bootup’s #LPGROW It’s a Wrap blog and their Flickr stream. Cheers!

Photo: @sonia, @dannyrobinson, @maurar. Not present, but equally awesome: @janisbehan, @dshanahan, @mackflavelle.

#Summify Changes Dislike Button To Like Button and Moves Blog Feed

Like Button

The Summify thumbs-down “Dislike” button has now changed to a thumbs-up “Like” button. The original addition of the Dislike button made perfect sense from an engineering point of view. Our thinking was that the dislikes would be a nice complement to the positive signals sent to us every time you clicked a story, and together we would use these signals to improve your recommendations. In practice however, the dislike button has not proved popular, and so we have decided to swap it for a new thumbs up Like button; a turn that frown upside down kind of thing.

The new Like button is a strong positive signal for your Summary’s recipe and has another direct benefit to you: when you click it, you “Like” the link on Facebook as well. Give it a try; you can find the Like button on your web summary and the share bar:

Web Summary – hover your mouse on the headline for it to appear

Share Bar – at the top of your screen, beside the share button when you view a story

Our Blog Feed Has Moved

Don’t forget to keep in touch. Our new feed has moved to feed://blog.summify.com/feed. We do apologize for the switch. It was unavoidable during our migration to WordPress and we hope you can take a moment to adjust it in your feed reader.

Summify Launches Redesign: Our New Look

The Summify pirate army has been hard at work pushing out updates, improvements and we recently passed the 2 Billion story mark!

2 Billion Stories

And there lies our insight. If we’re sleek and simple in how we deliver your news, isn’t it time that we start looking the part? Our makeup artists have cleared, the wood look is gone and the new Summify is here: simple, fresh and clean, with more pictures and Instapaper!

Email Summary

A simple flow with everything left-aligned: headline > contributors > excerpt.

Summify's New Email Summary

Web Summary

Summify's New Web Summary

Profile Picture – visitors can now see who is behind each Summary. The picture is pulled from your Twitter or Facebook account. Edit your picture in settings > Profile

About Me – give people a taste of who you are in a few more words than Twitter (200 character max). Found underneath your name. Edit your bio in settings > Profile.

Accounts – easily view a Summifyer’s social accounts. Found to the right of their bio. Manage your accounts in settings > accounts

More Summaries – under each profile picture, you will find buttons to previous and more recent summaries from that user.

Your News – headlines and excerpts now appear on top of each story’s image, contributors now appear on the right side of each story, filters have not changed, and share buttons are placed underneath each story, on the right side.

Social Bar

The Social Bar appears at the top of your screen when you view a story on the web. New additions to the bar include the “Summary” icon, which returns you to your Summary, as well as up and down arrows that will send you to your previous and next story, respectively.

One more thing…

The highly anticipated integration with Instapaper is fully functional. To read your stories later, click the Instapaper button: in your email Summary; in your web Summary, under each story; or inside the “Share” button, found on the Social Bar as you view a story.

So there you have it. Just like we recommend that most people take a shower in the morning, it was time for us to take our own advice, and clean up a little. We feel like we’re getting a bit closer to having the total package, but we want to know what you think.

Do we have the looks to back up our brains? Leave a comment and tell us what you think. What we really want to know is, will you go steady and stand by us?

Summify Heads to Launch@Grow: Grow Conference 2011

The Grow Conference is a unique three-day conference that brings together the top minds in business, entrepreneurship, technology, and capital to inspire and engage the next generation of disruptive entrepreneurs. Startups from all over the map have been eagerly awaiting the results of the Launch@GROW Contest: the opportunity for 15 top startups to show-off at the Opening Reception to the 2011 Grow Conference in Vancouver, BC.

61 startups from across Canada entered the Launch@Grow contest and public voting ended July 16. The top 25 leaders who rocked the most votes moved on to the semi-finals where they have been picked apart by Canadian and Silicon Valley judges.

With only 15 days left until The Launch@GROW Launch Party the results are in. The top 15 startups walking down the entrepreneurial red carpet (there’s less botox) are:

Unbounce
Summify
Rocketr
Tiipz
ToggleMe with Tradable Bits
Storypanda
MentionMapp
Hoseanna
Food.ee
Cargoh
Warranty Life
Jostle.me
ZapTap
Hipsell
Wishpond

Techvibes will be highlighting these companies over the next two weeks with startup profiles. Vancouver’s Unbounce led during public voting, so Techvibes jumped the gun yesterday with the first of their 15 startup profiles.

Congratulations to all of our fellow startups! It’s GROW time.

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