The Next Era Of Online Content Filtering: Percolate and

The Next Era Of Online Content Filtering: Percolate and

Percolate and - through different roles - indicate a continuing shift towards platforms and services that aim to better filter the overwhelming content available via our social media channels.

Paloma M. Vazquez
  • 11 july 2011


You may have noticed the Twittersphere explode late last week with praise (and beta invite lust) for Percolate, a recently launched  ‘publishing platform that aims to make social media marketing easy’. Additionally, we caught wind of BERG’s, a prototype ‘web-based Twitter reader that displays the updates of the people you follow in relation to the frequency of their tweets’. Percolate and seem to deliver on a broad, increasing need: filtering the noise and content across social media. Of course, they provide that filter in different ways, and with different levels of interactions:

  • Percolate (founded by Noah Brier and James Gross) is a publishing platform that essentially aims to give writers, bloggers, brands and individuals something to talk about. According to Gross (whom spoke with ReadWriteWeb),:

What people are really doing on Twitter is not saying I’m having lunch with my cat. What they are doing is contextualizing links all day. We don’t think that filtering for the best links is a product, though, we think it’s a feature. The value is created when you can get users to trust your platform for both consumption and publishing. The real breakthrough over the last year was Tumblr and Twitter, the way they created the read/write interface where you created and consumed in the same environment, in that dashboard-like flow.

With a simple interface (what’s percolating from the Percolators you follow on the left, and from the external Twitter and/or Google RSS sources you subscribe to on the right), Percolate has inherent benefits for anyone that wants a better way to filter the content they receive via their social networks. Percolate also gives you the ability to select who you’re ‘listening’ to, and even silence individual Twitter profiles (without their knowing you’ve ‘unfollowed’ or silenced them). Whether you use Percolate or another platform to actually create your commentary is open for discussion and decision, as you may elect to use Percolate purely as your streamlined filter — for content creation and subsequent ‘curation’ across your own separate sites.

  • is a Twitter-reader prototype (by BERG) that aims to amplify the voices of those you follow that aren’t the loudest or most frequent with their updates, while scaling back those who are more prolific (while this writer is certainly guilty, no one really wants to see an entire conversation take up their Twitter stream). While doesn’t aim to become a publishing platform (as Percolate does), it certainly does help filter what you’re seeing (and who you might want to read from) on a sometimes overwhelmingly crowded platform.

We’re very curious to learn about how both Percolate and are adopted over time, and what behaviors users develop around (and as a result of) each. For instance, will users more actively publish content/commentary on Percolate, or will it be predominantly a resource for externally-published thought pieces and content? Will Twitter apply the ideas and learnings of a prototype like to improve and evolve their own product? And will there ever come a time when people spend less of their time conversing and engaging on the originating platform (i.e., Twitter) and more on the tool that filters the conversation?

At the heart of it, what these platforms and prototypes indicate to us is clear: while too much of a good thing (information) can be wonderful, meaning can also be lost amidst the excess. Services that filter what is most relevant and meaningful may provide an invaluable asset for individuals and brands, and begin to shift the landscape in a different, necessary direction.

ReadWriteWeb: ‘But What Should I Tweet About?’



+content creation
+James Gross
+Media & Publishing
+noah brier
+Social Media
+Work & Business

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