We are all faced with too much information to keep up with. The amount of available content online is growing exponentially. This puts a tremendous pressure on all professionals who need to keep track of what’s new and could impact their company, market or profession.
Many turn to social media and automated tools to reduce the amount of content. Unfortunately, major platforms use algorithms based on past actions to filter content likely to please, resulting in information bubbles and missed opportunities. But this simply doesn’t work for professionals who have evolving needs, must avoid blindspots, and permanently remain ahead of the curve. In contrast, Cronycle puts you in control. Read this article on the importance of filtering information.
This tutorial shows how to use Cronycle feeds to filter relevant information from the noise and save hours if not days sourcing information, while remaining in control.
Top tip – There are two ways to make your Cronycle feed work hard for you, and ultimately save you time:
1) Get good information in to start with, thanks to relevant Topics, not too wide and not too narrow, alongside carefully picked trustworthy sources.
2) Narrow a feed’s focus to the right level, using filters to exclude or include content.
This tutorial covers both aspects which are complementary. You’ll see that the interface makes it easy to review and adjust your filters as they are all grouped together.
- Improve your feed Topics & sources
- Keyword filters
- Language filter
- Real-time alerts
- Block domains
- Filter by domains
- Expertise network shares
- Content type
- Seen / unseen
- Most influential experts
- Ad hoc search
- Export filtered content
Improve your feed Topics & sources
A Cronycle feed is a custom aggregation of content from several places:
- Cronycle Topics – expert-led curation using the Cronycle expertise network, and covering over 80k+ topics across 9 global languages.
- Freeform search – to follow mentions of any expression in any language, shared by the expertise network
- RSS and Atom feeds – the standards to share news links, which can cover blogs, news sites, Google Alerts, a few social media streams like YouTube channels and many more…
- Twitter handles, because Twitter is a way many professionals use to share information
- Website monitoring – an option reserved for our Enterprise customers.
- Newsletters you subscribe to, in a dedicated feed.
Because Cronycle Topics already filter the 2% most relevant content, they are a great start to get what you need. But you need the right Topics. If you haven’t done yet, read this step-by-step tutorials to learn how to create a feed using Topics. It describes a very successful process to discover Topics that work for you.
Once you have a feed, you need to review and remove (or often replace) Topics and sources.
First, go to your feed and find examples of content you do not wish to be there. Hover over the provenance icon – a T for Topics, Twitter or RSS logo – to learn how it ended up in your feed. If the same source or Topic keeps popping up, you have identified a noisy Topic or source. Now, check whether the most relevant content in the feed comes from this noisy Topic or source. If there isn’t much, remove it from the feed settings, as shown in this tutorial.
Tip #1 – Identify noisy Topics and sources and remove them if they are not surfacing interesting content. Consider finding a more specific Topic – such as Bathroom Design instead of Bathroom. On the other end of the spectrum, if you are not getting enough information, identify a larger Topic it encompasses, such as Interior Design.
To identify what more or less specific Topics to include, search the initial Topic in the top search and explore its related Topics, as well as those mentioned by each piece of content and expert. Content visible is for the last 6 months.
When you find the appropriate Topic with the right balance between volume and relevance, click on Add to feed, then select the right feed to add it to.
While a good set of Topics and sources is the first and most critical step, there are many filters you can apply and combine to focus your feed or to simply reduce noise.
The most commonly used filter is the keyword filter, which allows inclusion, exclusion and combinations (boolean). The keyword filter applies to all collaborators on a feed.
Tip #2 – Include keywords to get content relevant to a sub-topic (for example image recognition in Artificial Intelligence), or at the intersection with another topic – such as artificial intelligence in Healthcare.
Go to your feed and, in the feed filter menu, click on keywords. The first section lets you type included words or expressions – those you do want to be mentioned in the articles and tweets. Add them one by one.
For example, you can add “health” as well as “medical”. Content you’ll see will mention either “health” or “medical” or both. No other content will come in your feed. You probably need to think of a few other terms, such as “medicine” or “physicians”, depending on what is important for you.
Note that the keywords are specific (not fuzzy). If you list “physicians”, you’ll miss content mentioning only “physician”. So use both singular and plural forms when relevant.
Often, adding an exclusion filter is extremely efficient – particularly when you are monitoring for something with a name or acronym used in another context. For example if you want to monitor for the non-profit “CDP” active in climate change, exclude a few specific expressions like “customer data” to exclude customer data platforms (also CDP).
Tip#3 – Don’t be scared of exclusion keywords and try them – they can work wonders clearing noise from your feed!
Like inclusion keyword filters, you’ll find the exclusion filter from the feed filter menu. All filters, including keyword filters are also visible and editable from a dedicated feed filters side sheet, accessible from the Filters button in the feed Quick actions.
Also, once you’ve applied at least one filter, a green Enabled label appears in the Quick actions, and the corresponding option in the menu will get a grey background.
Advanced keyword filters
In some cases, the advanced keyword filter is needed, such as to:
- Include only when several terms are mentioned in the same piece of content – eg. “children” and “nutrition”.
- Exclude only when several terms are mentioned in the same piece of content – eg. not “children” and not “nutrition“.
- Combine with more complex operations, such as “health” and “children” not “baby”.
You can access the advanced keyword filter in two ways – from the keyword filter dropdown in the feed menu, and from the feed filters side panel. In both cases, you need to click on Add combinations & exclusions.
This opens a window with the words you already included and/or excluded, translated into an advanced keyword filter. This filter uses boolean logic. Look at the visualization underneath, as it provides useful feedback, particularly with exclusions and grouping. You need to press “Save” for the changes to apply.
Don’t use line breaks and check the following tricks for advanced filters:
Trick 1 – use brackets!
For example writing “dog and cat or snake” is not clear. Do you mean you want both dog and cat in content, or snake? Or do you want dog and either cat or snake? Brackets make this clearer – such as “(dog and cat) or snake”, or “dog and (cat or snake)”
Trick 2 – mind the and not followed by brackets
There is one aspect to be aware of when it comes to complex boolean operations: and and or invert when inside brackets and following and not. This is the Morgans law:
- not (A or B) = (not A) and (not B)
- not (A and B) = (not A) or (not B)
Once you know that, it is pretty easy.
Filter by language
Cronycle gives you the ability to discover and filter content across nine of the most popular languages:
By default, content in all languages are allowed in your feeds. To help further better filter out the noise, or to focus on a specific set of languages, eliminate content in unwanted languages from your feeds.
To filter content by one or several languages, follow these easy steps:
- Click on the globe icon in your feed menu.
- Check the language(s) you want to include.
- The feed refreshes and shows only content in the selected languages. All others are excluded, even those not in the list.
- Like for other permanent filters, the same language filter is also in the feed filters panel.
The language filter applies to all collaborators on the feed.
Cronycle’s market intelligence alerts ensure you receive timely updates and notifications about important information surfaced by Cronycle and published to your feeds. When you set up an alert, it is directly tied to content surfaced within a specific feed. Currently, you may set up one alert per feed. With each alert, you can choose one or several keywords to monitor. You can set a trigger to be notified for articles that reach a minimum share count threshold within our expertise network.
This option is available only to Enterprise users and can be set up from each feed settings, under Feed alerts.
In order to set an alert to trigger based on specific keywords, expand the section, Trigger by keywords and add the appropriate keywords you want mentioned in the title or body.
Cronycle also allow you to receive alerts when an article is shared a number of times within the Cronycle Expertise Network. Within feed settings (in the second block under Alerts), simply type the number of shares you want to set as a threshold for triggering an alert.
Alerts are delivered as emails and in-app notifications. Learn more about Alerts from this dedicated tutorial.
If you notice that some websites are bringing content that you do not wish to see – maybe a client’s competitor or a low quality news site – you can block these website domains from your feed. If you do, no content published originally on these domains will show up in your feed. For example, if you block www.fakenews.com, your feed will exclude any content published on a URL starting with www.fakenews.com.
Tip#5 – Block undesirable websites that only add noise to your feed.
To apply this filter, you have two choices:
- Block domains from the feed filters panel. In the feed filters menu, click on More, then on Block domains. In the panel on the right, you can enter one domain at a time to block, in different formats: domain.com, www.domain.com, or https://www.domain.com.
- Block from a tile. In your feed, simply hover over the domain name within an article’s metadata and click on Block domain. This adds the domain to the blocked list and opens the side panel with the filter.
You can block subdomains such as fr.domain.com. In that case, you’ll still need to block domain.com if you don’t want that. But you cannot block specific pages or website sections, such as domain.com/section.
The blocked domain list applies to each feed individually and is shared across all collaborators.
Filter by domains
In some cases, information you want is published on specific domains – for example academic publications or press releases. In this kind of situation, it makes sense to add a positive domain filter for one or several domains.
Let’s take the example of preprints related to Covid. You can easily make a feed with over 100 items per day using relevant Topics and keyword filters. But you only want to get the few preprints out of these 100. To only keep these, you can add a positive domain filter whereby you’ll list the preprint domains you want to be included. Everything else will be excluded.
Tip#6 – Use the positive domain filter to monitor specific sources such as academic press, press releases and filings.
To start, make a list of the preprint servers you want to include, and collect their domain in any of the following formats: domain.com, www.domain.com, or https://www.domain.com. Once you are ready, click on More in the filters menu of your feed, and click on Filter by domain in the dropdown menu.
Next, add one by one each of the preprint servers you listed (to be included):
Any article published on unlisted domains will be excluded.
Once that’s all done, my test feed showed 128 highly relevant preprints from the last 6 months. The same logic applies to other use cases like SEC filings, press releases, and specific monitoring.
Prioritize most shared information
You may need to prioritize information that has caused most interest by sorting the most shared at the top. This uses the number of shares by influencers in the expertise network, as a criteria for how content is ordered.
To do so, click on the sorting icon in the feed menu. When you sort by Expertise network shares, for each 24 hour, we’ll show you the most to least shared content, and then show the next 24 hours time frame, etc. This helps quickly identify critical content that is raising a lot of conversations or attention. The 24 hours time frame is starting from present time when you look at the feed.
Tip#4 – Review trending content first to make sure you are not missing anything major.
This filter is saved from session to session and applies to content from Topic(s).
Remember that some Topics have large communities, with shares routinely reaching 30-40. For other more niche or less active Topics, an article shared 5 times is trending.
Filter to see specific content types
Four different types of content appear in Cronycle feeds:
- Articles – including online PDFs
- Videos – including podcasts and slideshows
- Twitter conversations – tweet exchanges between influencers and organizations with the expertise network, appearing when you add Topics to your feed
- Tweets – single tweets appearing when adding Twitter handles as sources to your feed
The content filter simply lets you decide which kind(s) you want to show in your feed, depending on what format of information is most relevant to you. You can access it from the feed filters menu and from the filters side panel.
Don’t check the same things again with unseen content
If you are keeping track of a feed in a very meticulous manner, you may want to show the unseen content only. Your feed marks content as seen once it has been displayed on your screen, in the feed. So, if you scroll down a feed, even without opening content presented, the items will turn to seen. A green outline identifies unseen content. You’ll notice it disappears within seconds of displaying the content and scrolling.
Access the seen/unseen filter from the eye icon. We save your preference automatically across your sessions. Remember that we do not show content older than 6 months in feeds.
When you are in unseen mode, you can also revert the order of the content in the feed to show the oldest content first. As you scroll down towards the present time, you’ll see events unfold.
Rest on giants’ shoulders: filter by most influential experts
There is an option to reduce volume from Topics in your feeds which is relevant if you don’t need to be exhaustive, but want to learn from the top thought leaders.
Cronycle identifies content for each Topic using the expertise network influencers who share. Some Topics – like artificial intelligence – have a large community of influencers in our expertise network, counted in thousands. As a result, such vibrant communities bring a lot of content to feeds. You can add a filter to get content shared only by the top 20 or 100 influencers in the topics present in your feed.
For example, if you have four Topics in a feed, and select top 20, we’ll show content on these topics shared by a maximum of 80 influencers (20*4). In practice, it is usually lower, as there is often overlap between topics added to the same feed (top influencers are usually active in several Topics and Topics overlap).
You can add the filter by influencer level from the feed filters menu: click on More, then on Influence. The side panel with all filters appear, with the relevant section expanded.
This applies to all the Topics within that feed, but not to the other sources added to the feed (RSS, Twitter).
If you apply this filter, you’ll still see the less influential persons who also shared each piece of content, but at least one influencer is in the top. To review the list of influencers per Topic, search the Topic in the main menu, or click on the Topic in green on the right section of the feed. It opens a Topic discovery page where you can see and export the expertise network influencer list, see influencers’ pages and view content. To learn more about our expertise network, please check this post.
Search ad hoc for something specific
Feeds also have a search option to filter information in an ad hoc way, accessed by clicking on the lens icon. Like included keywords, it checks for words or expressions used in your feed. But in this case, terms searched do not get saved to your feed. If you want to search the same thing again next day, you’ll have to trigger a search again.
Results appear highlighted in yellow, so you get to see the context of the term in the content. Both title and content are searched.
Retrieve content from a specific time period
The time filter lets you limit your current feed view to a specific timeframe, in terms of published date. There are a few preset options (this week, this month…) and the possibility to set a custom time range using a calendar.
The time filter is temporary – it is not saved in your feed because time goes on. You can access it by clicking on the calendar icon, by the search, and you can combine it with search.
Export filtered information
A last closing word to mention feed export – exporting takes all the content filters mentioned above in consideration, including search and time filters. The items mentioned in the counter and visible are those exported.
Last but not least, you can do all the above as a team, with our Enterprise plan. Learn more about collaborating on feeds.