Zite Makes Right

Posted on January 10, 2012


Apple’s #1 news app of 2011 was Zite, described as a “Pandora for news reading.”  If you are over age 50, the word “Pandora” might conjure up “Pandora’s Box,” which is not exactly a good thing.  Pandora, according to ancient Greek mythology was the first woman. After the gods created her, they gave her a box containing “all the evils of the world.” This might not have been the best Howdy New Neighbor-type gift. In retrospect, Pandora would probably have preferred an apple pie or a Mapquest of Earth.  But she got the box, and she opened it out of sheer curiosity, thereby unleashing untold evils, including our present Congress.

Back to Zite. You begin by inputting your Google Reader, Twitter, Delicious or Read It Later profiles (This writer has no idea what two out of these four items are and she doesn’t care) and then Zite creates a “magazine” for you in a “simple and elegant single screen.” You can give a thumbs up or thumbs down to any article you read, and Zite’s article recommendations for you grow smarter and more personalized over time.

This is an especially interesting possibility, given the increasing inability of the general population to identify the Pacific Ocean or to know that we have a Vice President. By giving a thumbs down to anything that invites thought of any kind, one could conceivably end up with a “news magazine” specializing in photos of Kim Kardashian’s butt.

This writer must digress for a moment.  On the most recent episode of “Kourtney and Kim Do New York,”  Kim, in a rare burst of historical perspective, said something like “Blank, blank, blank 92, Kolumbus sailed the ocean blue!”  She then stopped, thought for a long enough time to get her lower eyelash stuck to her cheek, and kontinued, “That must have been 1800!  Or even 1700!”  This viewer was actually able to see the 20 or so brain cells she owns (albeit through all the hair extensions,) all kolliding with each other in a vain attempt to assemble themselves in a way that made sense. When Kourtney korrected her with “It was 1400. 1492,” Kim pulled the eyelash off her cheek, flashed her bleached and kapped teeth and chirpily announced, “Oh, I always have such a hard time with history!”

                              Kolumbus sailed the ocean blue, in eighteen hundred ninety-two

Back to Zite.  With enough thumbs ups or thumbs downs, assuming one has enough thumbs, the possibilities are, indeed, endless.  A belief in the world being flat, global warming being a myth, and the existence of puppet monsters from outer space could all take the format of “news.”  People could then say things like, “Imposing hefty taxes on the bottom 5% of the population will increase the GNP by an amount equal to the wealth of Asia is true because I read it in my news magazine.”

Meanwhile, I’m really excited. Oprah is offering a select few the chance to be buried with her in an ornate tomb under the desert in Nevada. I read it in my news magazine.