It was the thing that wasted my morning. Not wasted, precisely, but distracted it away from the task at hand.

My daughter likes to refer to something she calls, “slipping into the YouTube vortex.” I “discovered” Google Keen, a project from Google’s Area 120 this morning, and ended up popping out of the Keen vortex in much less time than I usually take popping out of the Pinterest or Twitter vortices.

Keen allows you to curate content, clicking a little “gem” icon for favorites that you want to save, entering search terms for Keen to locate relevant content and uses AI to find content relevant to your board.

By default, I found that boards were private. However, you can, of course, make your board public so other people can follow your board, and you can invite collaborators to contribute content to your Keen.

Keen’s home page only featured two public boards (by its developer) when I checked, which turned to three during my time there. However, I found that I could find public boards to follow easily by searching. I tried yanking myself out of the vortex, but it held fast. I decided to try it out — create a board and write a quick post about it.

A search reveals blogging boards on Keen.

I started two boards: one about Introversion, another about WordPress and blogging — I plan to add more, little by little as time allows. I’m a curious type; I want to watch how it goes.

Keen’s interface features a few tabs: Gems, where you can see the items you’ve saved, Explore which recommends related articles that might be of interest to you, and Searches, where you can enter search terms to follow to find relevant content.

I added a few of my posts as “gems,” of course, though often, I’m not sure where they fall on the scale of shininess or value. And then I pulled a few posts off of other sites that I knew I liked — adding the URL easily added the featured image to the post — and I used the Explore tab to find other, related posts.

I was then able to make my board public — I found that I could flip a switch to allow community suggestions for my board, as well.

So, did I like Keen? It offers a nice, clean interface like most Google projects, and its AI seemed to improve its content suggestions, the more I added items as “gems” (as I would expect.)

I think whether it ends up staying the course and being a valuable tool for sharing and finding content depends on how many people engage. So many places exist to share content. I’m of the school that says the more locations, the better — except that sharing content to everything: Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook pages, Mix, Flipboard (fill in all the other platforms here) and then, on top of that, Keen, takes time. If I’m busy sharing and getting sucked into the social media vortex, I’m not writing, or I’m not attending to other things in my life that need attention.

It will take me more time to decide if Keen’s something I’m going to continue using regularly but, for now, I’m giving it a “go” and a “thumb’s-up.”

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