Zite, a personalized magazine, that’s proven very popular for lawyers who are blogging and using other social media, just a released a new version for the iPad and iPhone.

Per Christina Caey (@christinacaey), reporting for Fast Company,

Zite creates a personalized magazine for you, powered by a smart discovery engine that sifts through millions of articles daily and combines that data with social signals about your social graph to figure out what stories you’d like to read.

Expanded to include more than 40,000 interest “topics,” up from its previous 2,500. So even if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, you can follow topics and get relevant stories in your own Zite, even if those topics are as diverse and far-flung as “basket weaving” or “kite flying.”

Zite CEO Mark Johnson (@philosophygeek) said the earlier version of Zite didn’t do a good job of easily surfacing the categories users would want to follow,

…[I]t required a bit of work on the user’s part. The new Zite, with its greatly expanded list of categories, is all about making that discovery process easier for readers, yet in a way that doesn’t inundate them with an overwhelming amount of content.

The iPad and applications such as Zite and Flipboard have proven to be very popular for lawyers for a number of reasons:

  • Following RSS feeds of sources and subjects is critical for engaging in social media. However reading RSS feeds in Google Reader, historically the most popular RSS reader, has proven challenging and unattractive to lawyers.
  • Zite and Flipboard deliver RSS feeds in a pleasing magazine format that you scroll or flip through. With pictures displayed, the applications are aesthetically attractive, especially compared to Google Reader.
  • Without even subscribing to RSS feeds, a lawyer may receive highly relevant content via Zite. Like Pandora, widely used for music, Zite gets ‘smarter’ based on a user’s ongoing use of Zite.

Historically, one big limitation of Zite has been the number of topic areas available on search. One could find categories covering healthcare reform, financing, and employment issues, but more niched industries were unavailable.

Now with almost 20 times the categories, Zite will prove even more popular as a listening tool for lawyers. For example I was able to find a topic area for ‘mining,’ an area likely unavailable on Zite’s previous version.

Engaging your target audience via social media first requires listening to relevant conversions. Expect Zite, Flipboard, and applications like them to be ever more popular listening tools for lawyers.