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Monday, July 25, 2011

Maybe Everything Old Really Is New Again

Back in 1922, DeWitt Wallace was recovering from shrapnel wounds he'd received in World War I when he got the idea that the flood of information being published was just too great for the average person to manage.  He got a pair of scissors and a pot of glue and made up a sample of a new magazine by piecing together the best bits of all the articles and books being published elsewhere for quick, easy reading by a busy person.  By the time Wallace's concept celebrated its 40th anniversary, Reader's Digest had 23 international editions and was the most widely-read magazine in the world.

Today, apparently, the same concept looks like this:
Gis.to is an aggregator of abstracts for the long-form web. It is a venue for the crowds to share the valuable nuggets of information held within long-form non-fiction content which often gets overlooked or ignored due to the massive amount of information produced by our society each day. . . .  
A directory of well-written abstracts (or Gists) that summarize the key points of information within long-form articles that offer readers a glimpse into what a further investment of their reading time will yield without skewing the original source article with a great deal of editorial opinion. 
Sort through the jargon and you quickly see that Gis.to is basically a Reader's Digest for the twenty-first century . . . with readers writing the "condensed" contents themselves.  If you find this idea compelling, visit the website and you'll have an opportunity to donate money to the people who are launching this thing--and who I bet are hoping to become millionaires in the process.  


  1. While on the one hand this sounds like a great idea, on the other hand I'm reluctant to endorse anything that supports people's growing inability to focus on anything much longer than an e-mail.

  2. . . . wait, what did you say?--I got distracted--