As an inveterate news junkie I am always looking for a better way to filter the firehose of news coming across my desk everyday, so when the Vellum app crossed my desk this morning I took some time to play with it.
Launched by the NY Times in April of this year, Vellum is a simple webapp which takes your twitter feed, filters out everything but the shared links, aggregates those links, and turns it into a stream of links and excerpts. As the NYTimes said when Vellum launched, this app fixes one of the deficiencies with using Twitter as a news source:
Vellum acts as a reading list for your Twitter feed, finding all the links that are being shared by those you follow on Twitter and displaying them each with their full titles and descriptions. This flips the Twitter model, treating the links as primary and the commentary as secondary (you can still see all the tweets about each link, but they are less prominent). Vellum puts a spotlight on content, making it easy to find what you should read next.
Vellum may have launched 4 months ago, but it only came across my desk today. As I looked into it this morning I noticed a lack of coverage (or at least it is not showing up in Google). And so I thought this was worth a post.
Have you used the app?
I have, and while I like the idea the execution needs more work. Vellum doesn’t just aggregate all of the news links; it includes all of the links shared by people I follow, including dross like links to job listings at Lab126. That is an example of what I don’t need, and I wish it had been filtered out.
But then I discovered that I can use Vellum to view a stream of links from one of the lists I created, and it suddenly became more useful. I keep several lists of high volume tweeters who share high quality links, and Vellum helps me browse the stories they shared.
I’m still not sure that Vellum is worth keeping around, but I do plan to give the app at least a week before making up my mind. From what i have seen so far it does a much better job at browsing Twitter links than News.me, which was built to serve a similar purpose.
Have you tried it?