April 26, 2012

Top tools to help you curate business content

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
SEOmoz

Target audience: Businesses, brands, social marketers, SEO marketers, website developers, Web publishers.

gianlucaWhen 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Elevation, where curators discern a general trend or insight from a mass of daily musings.
  4. Mashups, where different material about a topic is combined to create a new original point of view.
  5. 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

November 2, 2009

10 ways to improve Twitter lists

Twitter Lists

The brilliance of Twitter lists and suggestions for making them more powerful

Ayelet NoffIn my opinion Twitter is the best tool we have today to engage with others, spread a message, network, meet other likeminded people, and stay on top of the news, in any industry. The only aspect I’ve always found problematic on Twitter was the impossibility of organizing information. This is something that’s changed now with the new Twitter lists, which allow you to organize people in any sort of list you like.

So how have you been using lists? What sort of names have you been giving your lists? It’s quite interesting to see what lists people have put you under and how you have been “categorized.”  With Twitter lists, I can put people I am following into specific categories. So for example, I have created lists of “bloggers,” “social media,” “brands,” etc.

“It takes an individual an hour to build a 200-person Twitter List in comparison to the days / weeks it takes to attain a 200-fan FB page. This will make Twitter Lists the prolific standard for organizing the social graph.”
— Patrick Kitano

Twitter lists are going to change the way we network and socialize. No longer are we going to have a list of journalists’ emails to send a press release to but rather we’ll have a Twitter list of all these journalists with their Twitter handles. Patrick Kitano writes in his post titled Twitter Lists will Organize the social graph: “It takes an individual an hour to build a 200-person Twitter List in comparison to the days / weeks it takes to attain a 200-fan FB page. This will make Twitter Lists the prolific standard for organizing the social graph.”

Each of us is organizing his/her own “following,” or rather social graph — basically  helping twitter organize its database for them. These lists will become invaluable to us both professionally and socially. However, please note that one Twitter account can create only 20 lists and each list can only contain 500 members, so choose your lists carefully and who’s in them even more carefully. Robert Scoble wrote  an excellent post describing the limitations, bugs, impact and brilliance of Twitter lists. Continue reading