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Scribd.com Elevates Role of Editors

Scrib.com has had a makeover. If you are passionate about reading, publishing and the cross pollination of ideas, creative writing, art, social movements, academics and technology, check out the new Scrib.com. The navigation is cleaner and easier. The homepage is much more compelling.

Scribd has re-asserted the role of human editors and designers in selecting, organizing and presenting content, and reduced the prominence of — let’s face it — the boring appearance of users’ social feeds.

Scribd wanted to “surface interesting documents among the 25 million documents that have been uploaded by our readers.”  To that end it has divided its homepage into sections that feature “hand-picked” content, including the “Best of the Day” and a variety of “curated” publishers, readers, collections and trending documents.  The new homepage also showcases publications by category, and Scribd’s team is grouping articles by category for specific landing pages.  Hurray for organization.

‘Scribd’ the Way It Was

Writer Anthony Ha summarized Scribd’s change best in his TechCrunch report this past Monday:  “The website was previously dominated by your social feed, showing you the documents uploaded and read by other users that you’re following. Now the social feed has been pushed off to the side, and in its place there’s a feed of “featured” content, which has been hand-picked by Scribd.”

How Scribd Handled Users Outcry Over Changes

Ahh!  But the inevitable human discomfort at change reared its head. And, unlike some famous social networks we know, Scribd apparently felt its users’ pain and made an accommodation that should satisfy Scribd’s publishing mission while appealing to both new visitors and its highly valued addicted super users.

On Wednesday (Aug. 15), Scribd announced in its blog that it had added the ability of users to prominently display the previous feed layout whenever they choose by just clicking on a new link, “My Reading Feed.”  Nice.

And, that the new structure is probably just as appealing to category-craving advertisers  is okay too, since bills must be paid for Ruby on Rails software engineers, computers, editors, electricity, cool play stuff for the creative process, etc., that enables access to all this ‘free’ content.

The Path to Distraction

ANYWAY, this introduction to Scribd’s new orientation actually started out as a preface to a provocative article that  I wanted to share. I discovered it today in Scribd’s Trending section (via a jump from GalleyCat). I may not have ever run across “A Paradigm-Breaking Hypothesis for Solving the Mind-Body Problem” by Bernardo Kastrup in the journal  Paranthology had it not been showcased on Scribd’s homepage. It’s a great read, especially if you are researching for a novel in the paranormal genre. (Read my brief post on the article.)

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