What I do and don’t want Zeen to be

coming soon zeenYouTube creators Chad Hurley and Steve Chen are working on their next means of digital disruption with the upcoming Zeen. Zeen first hit the Internet’s radar this past spring, pitching itself as an application that will “discover and create beautiful magazines.” Since then, all’s been fairly quiet.

But at Le Web this week, Hurley and Chen revealed that Zeen will launch very soon, and described the startup as an application that will “in essence allow people to build online magazines in a more visually rich way to present information.” news curation appsWhich alleviates some of my early fears about Zeen: the last thing the Web needs is another Flipboard. Every media conglomerate and their dog has or had one – Yahoo, Aol; and Google is rumored to be throwing its hat in the ring. On top of that, there’s no shortage of visually stunning news and media aggregators out there for users, like Pulse, Zite, and News.me. They’re function and focus vary, but they all turn readers into super-consumers — into that thing that we’ve all become, curators.

And we don’t need another one. Which is why I’m hopeful about that whole “build” thing Zeen’s founders recently said. While plenty of things about the Internet have evolved incredibly quickly, platforms issuing iterations on top of iterations, Web publishing comparatively hasn’t been the quickest out of the gate. Maybe the fact that this market’s roots are in print, an industry that, though struggling, persists, has kept it from plunging head first into massive conceptual change.

The blog has inarguably been a part of the transition for publishers, and names like WordPress and Tumblr have been crusaders leading the charge of change. But the professional Web publisher doesn’t have as many options as you might imagine – really, if you’re in electronic media for a living and you aren’t using one of these two platforms for your writing, then you’re doing it wrong. But I would love to see a more crowded playing field, and one that stepped outside the box of what we’ve come to expect from blogs and Web magazines. In fact, I hasten to use the phrase “Web magazine” because there aren’t many examples of a true Web magazine, and part of that absence is because of status quo (we’re used to writing and reading on the Web in a blog style and form — for the record, WordPress is used by 15 percent of the Web) and part of it is because there haven’t been sophisticated enough tools to facilitate this type of creativity.

And that’s what I want from Zeen. I don’t want another platform to collect news from other sites (we get it, curation is hot — enough already) or a Paper.li rival on steroids. Give us new and better tools for Web creation instead of pretty ways to circulate what’s already being circulated. Discovery is an issue, yes, but it’s one that plenty of startups are already trying to tackle. How about the next evolution of the content management system? It doesn’t sound as sexy, but someone’s got to start cracking on it.

Who better than the founders of YouTube to come knocking on old media’s door with fresh ideas? 

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

Stay inside this fall with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Castle Rock'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we've put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Mobile

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Home Theater

I’ve seen the 8K TV future, and you should be excited. Here’s why

Samsung set the tech world on fire when it announced it would sell an 85-inch 8K TV in the U.S. along with several 8K screen sizes in Europe. Debates over the validity and value of such a high resolution have continued since, and we're here…
Mobile

Inferiority is a feature now! Palm's new plan is psychotic

The Palm is a smartphone to reduce your smartphone usage, or a small smartphone for when you don't want to carry your big smartphone. Palm itself doesn't seem sure which it is, but either way, it's a product that's so witless, we're amazed…
Home Theater

Budget TVs are finally worth buying, and you can thank Roku

Not all that long ago, budget TVs were only worth looking at if, well, you were on a budget. Thanks to Roku, not only are budget TVs now a viable option for anyone, but they might even be a better buy than more expensive TVs.
Mobile

Huawei and Leica’s monochrome lens is dead, so we celebrate its life

The Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro do not have a dedicated monochrome camera lens, unlike the P20 Pro, and various Huawei and Leica phones before it. It's the end of an era, and also the start of a new one, as Leica has worked on its…
Mobile

Smartphone makers are vomiting a torrent of new phones, and we’re sick of it

Smartphone manufacturers like Huawei, LG, Sony, and Motorola are releasing far too many similar phones. The update cycle has accelerated, but more choice is not always a good thing.
Opinion

Do we even need 5G at all?

Faster phones, easier access to on-demand video, simpler networking -- on the surface, 5G sounds like a dream. So why is it more of a nightmare?
Computing

Razer’s most basic Blade 15 is the one most gamers should buy

Razer's Blade 15 is an awesome laptop for both gamers, streamers, professionals, and anyone else needing serious go in a slim profile, but its price is out of reach for many games. The new Blade 15 Base solves that problem with few…
Gaming

Going to hell, again. The Switch makes 'Diablo 3' feel brand-new

I've played every version of Diablo 3 released since 2012, racking up hundreds of hours in the process. Six years later, I'm playing it yet again on Nintendo Switch. Somehow, it still feels fresh.
Home Theater

The Apple AirPods 2 needed to come out today. Here are four reasons why

Apple announced numerous new products at its October 30 event, a lineup that included a new iPad Pro, a MacBook Air, as well as a new Mac Mini. Here are four reasons we wish a new set of AirPods were on that list.
Gaming

‘Fallout 76’ may have online multiplayer but it’s still a desolate wasteland

"Is Fallout 76 an MMO?" That depends on who you ask. Critics and players often cite its online multiplayer capabilities as a reason it qualifies. Yet calling the game an MMO only confuses matters, and takes away from what could make…