I have apps and bookmarks for The Guardian, The Financial Times, and a few others on my phone and laptop, but using them is laborious and time-consuming. I have to check each one individually to feel fully informed.
So I have largely stopped using them in favour of a little-known news-reading app called Nuzzel.
I am addicted to Nuzzel because it does one incredibly simple and clever thing: It creates a news feed based on what your friends are reading and sharing in other social media and what their friends are sharing. The result is amazingly interesting: You get a feed of headlines that feel much closer and more relevant to what you're interested in, because they're being tweeted or shared by friends, family, and coworkers.
I don't have to read the news anymore because my friends do it for me, and then let me know if anything is actually interesting.
I'm not the only fan — Twitter investor Chris Sacca was raving about it too on a Periscope live-video session late Friday. (An increasing number of people I talk to say Twitter should just buy Nuzzel because Nuzzel may go some way to fixing Twitter's chaotic news-feed problem.) My colleague James Cook has been raving about it for weeks, too, but I foolishly ignored him until recently.
Nuzzel emerged from beta testing just earlier this year. It has bumped along, ranked somewhere between 135th and 500th in App Annie's download rankings.
Nuzzel uses a hedgehog as a logo.
On Nuzzel, you see stuff that's relevant because when you're a Guardian reader, you tend to have friends who also read The Guardian. The cool thing is that because they already read The Guardian for you, and picked out the good bits in tweets and shares, you now have a feed of only the interesting bits from The Guardian.
The friends-of-friends feed is often more interesting because it surfaces stuff from further afield, stuff you didn't even know was news but suddenly feels interesting because it's buzzing on the outer edge of your social sphere.
Through this incredibly simple organising principle — a feed of news stories shared by friends on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media — Nuzzel appears to have solved one of the trickiest problems in mobile news distribution: how to create a news-feed aggregation that's actually relevant, timely, and interesting.
Think about it. There are hundreds of news apps, and mostly they are terrible:
There's a great kicker about Nuzzel, too: Its founder is Jonathan Abrams, who until now was best known as the founder of Facebook forerunner Friendster. Nuzzel's COO is Kent Lindstrom, the ex-CEO and vice president of finance of Friendster, which of course flamed out really quickly in the early social-media wars. The pair have taken $3.4 million in investor funding so far.
So basically, the people behind the very worst social network have somehow, more than a decade later, created the very best social media news reader.