Welcoming A New Term: The Content Refinery

A piece of content in whatever form can be the best piece of content you've ever read. But finding that content is not easy - it could be lost in an infinite feed, in a twitter thread that has a shelf-life of 5 minutes, all the way at the bottom of a newsletter, in an blog archive, on page 2 of Google, etc. The fact is that content as valuable as it may be, immediately is lost by the maze.

The concept of a content refinery is by simply choosing quality over quantity, through human-curation and your signals, content is refined further and further, until the perfect piece of content is placed in front of you.

Content refining is the process of extracting, from the vast amount of content available online, the most relevant, timely and credible stories. It’s like the difference between Yelp, where you’d find every possible restaurant, to the Michelin guide where each restaurant is hand-picked.

Human-Curation over an Algorithm.

Humans are multi-faceted and our tastes vary through all walks of life. Whether you are interested in BigTech Controversy one week and Pelicans Like To Fish the next, we shouldn't be subject to choosing categories and using that as our filter to never see something that may trigger some sort of curiosity.

In each field, identify humans that are the experts and thought leaders in the space. The people who have spent their time sifting through the content in their realm. Curators pick and choose the stories that are most important for their audience. By following the hand-picked recommendations, the content that is being put forth is authentic, relevant, and credible. A content refinery is based on human curation and human signals, not by an algorithm.

Refinement, not narrowed personalization.

Unlike personalization engines, where everything is a blackbox, content is sifted through the refinement process to see the pool of stories by people like you with similar interests, by people you follow, for you. The idea is to listen, open up our minds to create an experience that were made the people - from the curators picking the content to people like you reading and engaging with a story and to be processed and delivered for you, right in your hands.

Intersection, not overloaded feeds.

Unlike other platforms, the more people you follow the better and less noisy your experience will be. That’s because content refineries look for the intersection of recommendations made. Think about it like this, you have an RSS Feed or a Twitter Account - the more people/publications/authors/writers you follow the larger your feed will get. But if there is a content refinery, you'll see the crossover between the curators you follow. How many times have you scrolled through your feed and seen an article on a number of your thought leaders accounts. It's all about finding the intersection and minimalism, not the massive feed.

Understanding you, the first time.

A good content refinery platform will be a place where you spend time on absorbing knowledge and not compromised by trying to find that one read. Maximizing your time should be the priority.

A content directory is just the opposite:

Relying on human expertise to refine and mine the signal from the noise, all to achieve the goal of WOW’ing you with every story.