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Monday, 14 May 2012

Use! To Collect & Share Online Content You Like On A Custom-Themed Site

Often, I come across websites that re-publish or link to my articles here on MakeUseOf. This is how I discovered!! is a curation platform that enable users to collect news, articles, and other sources found on the net, and share them on a custom-themed! site. It’s like bookmarking articles on Delicious, but with a more visual and online magazine-like format.

The Setup

Most! sites consist of 10 or more recently published articles linked from the net. Each linked article consist of a leading image and lead paragraph, similar to the layout here on MakeUseOf’s front page. All articles posted on! are linked to the original source where they were scooped.

Scoopit 1

As a curator of a! page you can manually add the articles you want to share on the page, as well as allow!’s search engine to pull and post suggested content from various sources on the net.! has free, expert, and business plans. As a curation site,! can be useful in a number of ways, including collecting and sharing your own original content spread throughout the web, or for promoting your business or area of expertise. The free option does have some significant limitations, but there are enough free features to make your page look interesting.

For the purposes of the article, I started a! page to host many of the articles I’ve written on the topic of iPhone photography. The setup was easy and there are a few easy-to-use features that enable you to populate your page very quickly.

Curating Sources

To register and create a! page, you need to select a topic and provide your profile information.

Scoopit 19

Many popular topics have already been scooped up on!, but in searching and viewing similar sites, you may decide to offer a different niche or collection of sources for your chosen topic.

Scoopit 18! can use its search engine to search various sources – like Google News, Digg, YouTube, Twitter – for content related to your topic. Searches are based on site description and the keywords you add.

When! delivers your suggested content, you can decide to Discard,! (add it) or Remove the Source all together. This curation process is automatic, but it may take some time for you get an initial collection of suggestions.! Bookmarklet

The first! suggestions I received were not specific enough to my iPhone photography topic, so I basically added content I’ve produced here on MakeUseOf.


So far, I found the best way to get a quality! page is to manually add articles. Since you’re an expert on the topic, you are better able than the search engines to know which articles should be shared and promoted.

Scoopit 17!’s web browser bookmarklet makes it very easy to manually add content. When you come across an article you want to add to your! site, you simply click the bookmarklet, and it will grab the title, first paragraph, and images from the article. You can select which image you would like to be displayed in the summary box on your! page.

Scoopit 11

Bookmarking an article only takes a few seconds, but if you want search engines like Google to find your! links, you should definitely add tags to each article you scoop.

Scoopit tags

You should and can write your own content for your! page. Your post might be a simple introduction to the articles listed on the page, or it might cover an aspect of your topic that no one else has written about.

Scoopit 2

Promoting Your!

As with any other website, if you want it to be viewed, you will have to promote it, using of course social networks, as well as linking your! site in your and others’s websites. Like YouTube,! provides a feature for creating a! widget for your page that can be embedded into your blog or company website.

Scoopit 4

Mobile!! also provides free mobile iPhone and Android apps that essentially work the same as their desktop web client. You can approve suggestions for posting and add content via the smartphone’s web browser bookmarklet.

Scooptit iphone

Though the premium plans for! provide many more options, including Google Analytics, topic branding and domain hosting, the free plan is a great way to develop a magazine-style site especially if you don’t have the time to write a lot of content yourself.

Let us know what you think of!. Do you currently use it? If so, share your page with us and our other readers.

For a few other ideas about sharing content on the net, check out “3 Web Tools to Collect and Share Bundles of Interesting Links and “Bundlr – Easily Collect and Share (Cool) Stuff You Find Online On A Single Page.”

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