Unmissab.ly: A tool which could change the way a journalist works

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In December 2012, I – rashly, in hindsight – decided to do a social media Advent calendar – basically a post a day throughout December, featuring a different social media tool every day. 13 months on, and it’s probably time to revisit those and see how many are still going strong – or, indeed, useful.

I toyed with the idea of doing the same last month, but a cursory glance around suggested that I’d probably struggle to find 24 new tools which were sufficently interesting to journalists.

But there is one I’ve wanted to write about for a while – so here goes: Meet unmissab.ly – a tool which has the potential to change the way you work.

Unmissab.ly has been developed by the digital team at Trinity Mirror. I mention that because I’m part of the digital team at Trinity Mirror, responsible for the regional websites – I’ve had sight of Unmissab.ly from quite early in its life, but that’s not why I’m blogging about it – seriously, it’s not.

So what makes it so special? Unmissabl.ly works by monitoring the people you follow on Twitter or Facebook and serving up the stories and articles they are sharing the most. You choose when to receive a daily update from Unmissab.ly on email but can log into the live feed at any point.

Where Unmissab.ly comes into its own for journalists – compared to say the daily Twitter email alert – is that it enables you, in real-time, to see what people are looking at from within your community, so it becomes critical for you to have the right community around you. Alternatively, you can set it up to land in your inbox as you arrive to work. In that respect, it’s like a digital newswire, based on content people are actually interested in.

If you spend the time finding the right people to follow – say, using Socialbro or locafollow.com to find local people on your patch or something as simple as Twitter Search to find people who share your interests or specialism – then Un.missably provides you with an instant feed, or daily digest, of the things your community – and therefore your target readers – are sharing.

How you then use that information to influence what you’re working on is entirely up to you but it feels to me – to use the time-honoured Twitter comparison – to being able to access every conversation in a pub, potentially providing a goldmine of content to follow up on. Of course, much of the content has already been published elsewhere, but knowing what gets the people you follow sharing is surely an insight no journalist would want to be without.

Next week, I’ll blog on the five essential tools every reporter should try to ensure they know what’s going on in their community, and it’s a safe bet Unmissab.ly will be in there.

Unmissab.ly is in testing at the moment. You can sign up to give it a go here

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