The cream of the curators are those who can sort through the digital avalanche of noise and find the buried gems. Just like a great DJ on a radio station who DOES have control over what gets airplay, mining gems creates positive buzz. It’s also a position of choice, someone worthy of following and worthy of your business.
My definition of curation is the work of sharing your talent and perspective by selectively distributing news and views on a topic of interest using your authority, your ability to feature what is new, and your selectivity:
- Authority: They want to know what you have to share and say about it based on an authority you have or create on the subject. Why is it of interest?
- Newness: What is new on the topic? Curated topics could be any niche of interest where you can draw interest online: classic cars, military life, change management, organic food, leadership, and more.
- Selectivity: Like a popular DJ, you create value by your values that become evident in the quality of what you share in your curated content.
I created a short video on curation back in 2012 for the local Lunch Ann Arbor Marketing group, LA2M that also features my tool of choice I use today, ScoopIt, along with other curation tools:
A blog post by Ibrar Bhatt offers that:
…the word ‘curation’ comes from the Latin root curare, meaning ‘to cure’ or ‘to take care of’ and historically relates to any processes of organisation, collation, judicious selection (usually for presentation), and even curing and preserving. [It often describes work] carried out in museum settings, and has now evolved to describe what is often done in digital environments….
To better explain curation in digital environments, the information theorist Edward Tufte (1990) provides [an] elaborate explanation of the kinds of practices that people tend to do in “information thick worlds”. To Tufte, these are the abilities to:
Select, edit, single out, structure, highlight, group, pair, merge, harmonize, synthesize, focus, organize, condense,….winnow the wheat from the chaff, and separate the sheep from the goats. (I reduced the list by 2/3rds, DN.) (Tufte, 1990, 50)
From creating a blog, a form of curation, to keep friends informed about babies and family, travel or even a battle with cancer, personalized social media and other internet communication tools is common. That means curation is now mainstream and social media is accepted as background the world over.
…Curation is now mainstream, and social media is accepted as background the world over.
Today the task is dealing with the filter bubbles that may form around us, known or unknown. Why? So we might know how to deal just a bit better with our ever changing VUCA world, one that is
Volatile – think 9-11 and the Middle East,
Uncertain – the financial meltdown that went global
Complex – business/family structures, and
Ambiguous – The new normal is leading through ambiguity in business and in life
For more information about VUCA, see my post: Three Tenets of Mastering the Unknown, Leadership through Ambiguity
“We can be politically right, but emotionally wrong.”
~ Sally Kohn, TED Talk: On Emotional Correctness, December 2013
Here are six (6) curation basics that can help you enrich your perspectives of the world, including dealing with media filter bubbles.
Curation Basic #1
Feature YOUR PERSPECTIVE in a speciality interest area by posting content and commenting on it
If you have truths valued by others, via your perspective, curation is a great way to share it.
Here’s one example, using social media itself as a topic:
- Social Media for coaches and consultants: I found that my interest and passion about social media in 2009 drew a LOT of interest from coaches and consultants, and still does today. They are interested in my speciality: a coach and consultant who understands and uses social media for business. That distinguishes me from others marketing / social media services.
What is your special niche and perspective of interest to others?
The Social Media Learning Lab (SMLL) is one of several specialized niche topics I maintain, as is the change topic further below. Social media is also a topic featured on my main website as its own page.
How do you incorporate your key topics and interests on your main website or whatever you use online as a hub for your work?
I use the ScoopIt Social Media curated newsletter as a “value add” to share with those who enroll in social media workshops I offer from time to time.
When your community values your work to create that niched space of collection & commentary, your followers will grow.
Curation Basic #2
Grow your audience by figuring out where your audience is and THEN choose an “anchor” tool that best fits them AND you
When your community values your work to create that niched space of collection & commentary, your followers will grow and share your content in that space. Here are the two newsletters I’ve created on ScoopIt that each have over 5000 followers as of today: Change Leadership Watch and Change Management Resources on ScoopIt. Followers regularly share this content via tweets and “Re-Scoops” so that others are attracted to the curated “change” content.
You can see from these two ScoopIt examples, how curation in an area of specialty, such as my primary coaching and consulting specialties featuring change, attracts followers.
You can also see each newsletter separately as intended, not within a widgets here:
As another measure of interest, a curation photo I’ve shared on Flickr has gathered more than 23,000 views since it was posted in 2011:
Note: This article is based on an earlier 2012 content curation REVELN post here.
Facebook is another example, based on followers or friends using your main account or business pages. Business pages on Facebook now usually require spending some money so that your business posts will show in your followers news streams.
Did you know on Facebook, LinkedIn and via other sites you can have “followers” without being networked, “friended” or otherwise connected? That means people who follow you will see your public posts in their streams, while those who are friends or connected with you will see more of your posts.
In spite of the criticism of methods and the creepiness of Facebook based on recent news of the manipulated news feeds of 689,0003 users, it continues to be a huge business force in the world.
Stuart Turnbull, 42, a writer in England, once tried to shut down his Facebook account after realizing that he was spending too much time sharing posts and comments.
“Yet as he looked to build contacts with other writers and editors around the world, Mr. Turnbull, who works from a home office in the small town of Crieff, soon changed his mind. He even opened a second Facebook account dedicated to his literary career.”
Source: New York Times, July 6, 2014
If you like it, …you’ll use it. Otherwise, why would you be reading this far…?
This is a photo from my 2012 curation post. Things continue to progress in 2014 with curation.
Curation Basic #3
Choose an “integration” tool that best fits YOU, and time it with your events
People have asked me to teach them about a specific social media curation or integration tool, like Hootsuite, ScoopIt, Instagram (yes, it is an integrator) and Sprout Social. These days, most social media platforms have built in integration. So, here’s the thing: No one really cares what you use to integrate, as long as they get your posts and news. It just needs to be something YOU like to use regularly, as in 2-3 times a week to 20 minutes a day or more.
The best time to curate is before or after an event and whenever you also launch other marketing such as radio, a blog-talk show, and presentations. Putting the real live you with curation is a strong combo. If you like it, you’ll use it. Otherwise, why would you be reading this far into this post about curation? Heh.
Here are some integration tool examples from my preferred tool, ScoopIt as well as Hootsuite, which I also use:
I like ScoopIt and Hootsuite in particular because they have:
- A robust integrator that includes a wide array of social media options, like Pinterest (wildly popular), Google+, Tumblr as well as the stalwarts Twitter and Facebook (multiple accounts possible) and WordPress and LinkedIn.
- Easy to access analytics, that can be connected into Google Analytics, if you liked even more detail on who’ve visiting, when, where, how and what.
- A freemium option, which means you can try the free version and then sign up for paid versions. I’ve been using ScoopIt Pro for about $20 per month for several years.
In addition, ScoopIt has:
- Featured visuals, which are so important in our scan savvy world. On ScoopIt, they are usually available from posts you curate, or you can upload your own. The example newsletters above feature them.
- A beautiful newsletter format that is easy for visitors and potential followers to scan. The newsletter also integrates into MailChimp which happens to be what I use to publish the REVELN BEST of the BEST news each month. If you are interested in signing up for it, visit any of my other REVELN.com web pages and look for the yellow box at the top of the page.
Other curation tools include the more scholarly format of Pearltrees, the wildly popular visual pinboard Pinterest, the custom news aggregator Flipboard, and, probably unique to me saying it, the long standing, open source tool VUE, available for download at Tufts university, which, by the way, has named the best open source school in America as of May 2014.
- I used VUE to create this retreat planning flowchart.
- This very blog post is on a website created with the open source, respected CMS (content management system) blogging platform WordPress.
Curation Basic #4
Create a diversity of partners in curating today’s truth
Collective curation allows us to deal with the filter problems with single person curation. It is what the news media does, including this example of a commentator outside the mainstream of what FOX News shares from the conservative perspective.
Sally Kohn is both liberal and a lesbian — and she worked at FOX News, contributing to the conservative network for three years. During that time, sparred with some of the most conservative minds on television. In this TED talk, she gives a bold idea for pushing past political polarization.
She feels strongly that the only way to address the issues facing our country is to sit down and have a real conversation — no more talking past each other or walking out of press conferences.
“We can be politically right, but emotionally wrong.” ~ Sally Kohn, TED Talk: On Emotional Correctness, December 2013
Source: How we can build a more united United States of America: A Q&A with liberal FOX News pundit Sally Kohn, 2013 See a ScoopIt summary of this piece updated to 2014 here: Sally Kohn’s liberal views on Fox News & Today | TED Blog
With curation, you can serve as an editor/coordinator of what you and your contributors and followers share as a common interest. Having co-contributors suggest posts themselves is the feature that makes it social.
It’s important to understand the nature of curation. The video I’ve shared below is about this. Inviting in partners to enrich and broaden what I know is important.
Source: Social Media Learning Lab
Curation Basic #5
Your chosen tools are central to the message you deliver
With reference to Marshall McLuhan, “the medium is the message,” and referencing Facebook in the spotlight in 2014 for manipulating news feeds, there are problems with social media tools. From my earlier blog post on filter bubbles, note the message you send what what you tools you choose to use and how you use them:
I noticed one day that my conservative feeds had disappeared from my Facebook feed based on what I most clicked on…
You don’t see what choices get in or get to decide what gets edited out… [it’s] information junk food.
~ Eli Paser
MoveOn.org founder Eli Pariser explains that filter bubbles are the gates we erect through which information about the world comes.
With Facebook, Google and personalized news services weighting search results according to our interests, we are living more within filter bubbles than ever before.
…in the old model of publishing, editors played the role of gatekeepers, but the Internet has allowed algorithms to take over.
The only problem? Computers “don’t have the kind of embedded ethics that the humans do.”
Curation Basic #6
Use more than one curation tool for sustainability
In 2012, when this post was originally written, curation was on the front edge of social media trends, and that is of hyper-personalization and customization through social networks. Posterous was a wildly popular, simple-t0-use curation tool at the time because it supported many type of rich media: video, audio, documents, photos, etc. It shut down in 2012. Posthaven is its replacement, but it is a shadow of its former self.
SO, if you curate, and you may be doing that already via the articles you like to share the MOST on something like Facebook, is is wise to pick two or three social media channels and stick to them. Develop them as rich curation tools in your business toolkit. If you are reading this article, I’ll bet you are already using at least using two. Email counts, YES it does, as one of them.
A recent article on my ScoopIt news offered this curation-as-business focus to help you think about your curation tool choices further and a follow-on to this article: Where content curation traffic comes from and 4 ways to increase yours
We can transform information overload into a rich mosaic of knowledge.
~ Crowdspoke video, Understand collective curation in under 90 seconds, YouTube, 2011
If you liked this post, or just have a few thoughts about it, give me a shout out in the comments. I really enjoy that! Also, I’d be very pleased if you share my post with others. Curate away!
To take this post on a little further, note my resources below. Thanks for visiting!
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