Strawberry Jam, Zite, PostPost: Tools to help you identify content relevant to your business needs
First of two parts. Also see:
• Take charge of the curation wave with these slick tools
Guest post by Gianluca Fiorelli
Target audience: Businesses, brands, social marketers, SEO marketers, website developers, Web publishers.
When it comes to the Internet, I imagine it as the warehouse where the Ark is archived at the end of “Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The Ark is that outstanding content that someone has produced and no other will be able to see again, because it is forgotten and hidden between gazillions of other things.
Apart from the gigantic volume of pages present in the Internet, for a long time search spam has been making the discovery of reliable sources difficult. Social media has exacerbated this issue, because it added even more noise and dispersion. Actually, as Mitch Kapor once said, getting information off the Internet is like having a drink from a fire hydrant.
To tell the truth, this problem is not new.
What is content curation?
Since the beginning of time, people have collected the best that humanity has produced in art, literature and science. We invented museums, libraries and encyclopedias. We’ve written essays and done research. We’ve always looked at curators who knew how to identify the good stuff.
Content curation falls into that same tradition. Content curation is the process of collecting and cataloging only the most interesting things about a subject to share it for the common benefit.
We need this more than ever in the Internet era. As Rohit Barghava wrote in his Content Curation Manifesto, content curators will bring more utility and order to the social Web. In doing so, they will help to add a voice and point of view to organizations and companies that can connect them with customers – creating an entirely new dialogue based on valued content rather than just brand created marketing messages.
5 kinds of content curation
Let’s try to identify five kinds of content curation:
- Aggregation, which consists of curating the most relevant content about a topic at a single location. This is the most common way of curating content, and it is how most sites do it.
- Distillation, whose purpose is to distill the overall buzz about a topic to its most important and relevant essence. At its best, social content curation is supposed to work this way.
- Elevation, where curators discern a general trend or insight from a mass of daily musings.
- Mashups, where different material about a topic is combined to create a new original point of view.
- Chronology, which could be defined as historiographical content curation. Usually it consists of presenting a timeline of curated information to show the evolution of a particular topic.
How to do content curation: The tools
There are a large number of sites and tools that help the content curation process, but none is useful without one essential skill: your ability in separate the wheat from the chaff. That means that at first a curator needs to collect all the information out there about the topic he is going to curate and then start selecting.
The best way to collect that information is listening. For instance, if someone would like to start curating the SEO topic, he should spend some time each day visiting sites like SEOmoz, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Journal, examining the sites/blogs of the people active in those sites, select the most interesting ones and use two starting tools, RSS and Twitter:
- RSS to track their own content production about the SEO topic
- Twitter to track the content related to the SEO industry they share.
This discovery phase can be facilitated by tools, two of which are not strictly Web-based but mobile apps:
Zite: A personalized magazine
Zite (for iOs, WebOS and Android and owned by CNN) is a “personalized magazine,” which not only offers the opportunity to connect your Google Reader, Twitter and Pocket (formerly Read It Later) accounts so that you have all the content in one place and organized into sections but also offers a large selection of content from other sources it crawled on the Internet. All of this content is presented in standard sections like Technology, Politics, Arts & Culture, etc. Continue reading