Sunday, December 28, 2008

New York Times Customized Widget

The New York Times just released a beta version of "build your own widget". It's a bit simplistic in its current stage, though I imagine they wanted to launch it, see what readers and social media users create, and then make modifications. If only all organizations could take that view of building a prototype, testing it in the market, and then making adjustments without beating themselves up and creating drama for product developers: we'd having many more higher-quality innovations in short-order!

Very easy to use and post, you have only two sets of choices: 1) Select the top articles from a certain section of the paper or use a specific keyword. 2) Choose between 3 and 10 headlines to post in the widget. Then just click "Add to site", choose which social networking platform you'd like to use (currently a very limited selection), enter your log-in info for that page, and it's posts automatically for you. I created an "Innovation News" widget with the top 10 innovation headlines of the day from the New York Times to post to my blog (you can find it in the sidebar on the right-hand side of this page) and to my iGoogle page.

What I love best about the widget is that it will be helpful for my blog readers and many of them also work in or are interested in innovation. It's also very useful to me to get a quick daily snapshot of what's happening in the innovation field. (When I boot up my computer in the morning, iGoogle is my first log-in.)

A few improvements I'd make: 
1) allow for greater customization. For example, I want to pick and choose with more discretion. I always read three NYT columnists: Kristof, Friedman, and Krugman. I'd like to see the top story from the arts, business, health, and world news sections, the innovation article of the day, the Magazine cover story, and a cartoon.
2) make the widget available for more social media platforms. I'd like to post it on my Facebook page and add a link to that widget to the signature of every email I send.

Create your own New York Times widget at

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