You know the feeling, you’re browsing Twitter and you find something that’s really interesting, but you don’t have time to read it just yet. So you add it to your Read It Later or Instapaper, only to later realize that you’ve backed up so many items that you need a Read It Later for your Read It Later.
But what if someone reliable had already read the same piece, drawn out all of the high points and then placed them in an easy-to-digest format for you? That’s what Gis.to is hoping to do. At first glance, the most accurate description I could find is Cliff’s Notes for the Internet, but the Gis.to folks think “more knowledge in less time” is pretty accurate, too.
Gis.to is the brain child of three Chicago friends. At present, the site doesn’t have many “Gists”, but that’s sure to change as time moves forward. In fact, there’s a Kickstarter project that’s being raised with the goal of hiring some content writers to get things moving.
So how’s it work? Essentially it relies on hiring and finding the right people to track down long-form content on the Internet. They’re then tasked with reading and digesting the content, then summarizing it in a couple hundred words. In short, they’re taking notes for you, which you can then read and decide if you’d like to read the piece yourself or perhaps decide that you’ve learned enough from a summary.
I’m told that we’ll also see a Gist Marketplace where buyers will be able to purchase Gis.to services from rated, reputable sellers. In short, the better work a seller does, the higher their ranking will be and the more that they’ll be able to charge. This should prove to be a boon for not only those working the system but also businesses, research firms and those of us who just don’t have time.
The Gis.to team is also discussing some design options, such as a two-paned window that will show you the original article alongside your Gisted version. Chances are, this is just one of many design iterations that will happen with the site as things move forward.
There may never be the perfect answer to finding all of the information that you want (at least until we get that incredibly cool chair from The Matrix) but in a world where shared knowledge — just look at the success of Q&A platforms and Wikipedia — is becoming increasingly marketable I think Gis.to is onto something big.