Socialmediaicons-500x281 (1)
Popular Social Media Tools

The most popular social media tools out there are great for status updates, information sharing and communication, but they aren”t great for curating information.   What is information curation?

cu·rate2
ˈkyo͝oˌrāt/
verb
gerund or present participle: curating
  1. select, organize, and look after the items in (a collection or exhibition).
    “both exhibitions are curated by the museum”s director”
    • select acts to perform at (a music festival).
      “in past years the festival has been curated by the likes of David Bowie”
    • select, organize, and present (suitable content, typically for online or computational use).
      “nearly every major news organization is using Twitter’s new lists feature to curate tweets about the earthquake”

Hashtags are a great tool for curating via Twitter, Instagram and now, more recently, Facebook.  Search your topic using a Hashtag (#) in front of the term you are seeking to see who is talking about a topic, and how popular a topic might be.  Example: #Syria.

What information should be curated?

Trying to determine what information to curate on a topic can be a monumental task.  Here are a few tips and tools for getting started.

Topsy.com is a great tool for identifying trending topics and searching across the social web.   You can search on everything from Tweets, links, videos, photos and influencers.  This is an information tool rather than a curation tool, but can help with the search for viable topics/keywords/authors to curate in the next step.

Hashtag searches can be done on Klout.com, Twitter, Facebook, Hashtags.org, Instagram, Socialmention.com and others, as well as Topsy.

Where should I curate?

A few curation options that seem to be both user friendly and broad in use are as follows: 

1. Paper.li

Paper.li allows you to generate a daily, weekly, or on demand paper based on tweets, rss feeds, you tube, and more.  You can have the “paper” auto tweet to your account and/or send it out manually.  You can also manually populate the paper.li paper, but the most effective use of paper.li seems to be in setting the paper to generate based on topics, and/or authors rather than through a manual process.  This curates information effectively without requiring approval on every piece included.  Tweeting it out automatically also benefits your Twitter account as it automatically tags the other authors in the post, making it quick to add followers and gain retweets.

Downside: you can”t add any comments or feedback so editorializing the content is not an option.

Upside: it can be automated for both creation and distribution.

2. Storify.com

Storify.com was recently purchased by Livefyre so some of this may change, but it currently serves curator for images, articles, videos and more.  You can search via Facebook, Google Plus, You Tube, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, links, or Google search (most commonly) or less common sources like Zemanta, Chute, App.net, and more.  You can add quotes, images, videos, or links.  You can embed the story elsewhere, and you can also add comments and notes along the way.  It is also easy to share via link, social media, and embed code.

Downside: completely manual.

Upside:  Extremely custom.  Can be embedded. Multimedia sharing is within the story (watch video and view tweet in the same storify story.)

3. Scoop.it

Scoop.it is a combination between Paper.li and Storify as it is a manual curation of various sources of information across the web from sources you identify (if you want).  Scoop.it allows you to follow “topics”.  Much like a reporter, your topic allows you to view suggestions and modify sources customize your search, and more. These topics are a great source for information found online in recent news articles, blog posts, videos, slideshares, and more.  You then create a “scoop”.  The scoop is manually selected content from your “topic” sources.  You can then provide insight to the scooped article, video, image, etc.

Downside: Manually created but automatically pulls from your Topics for suggestions.

Upside:  You can save your favorite sources and search them automatically and still add insights to the posts.

More Curation

The options above are just a sampling of the many curation sites out there.  All of the options above have free versions as well as self branded upgrade options.  Here are some additional curation options.

Why Curate?

Curating content can benefit your site by bringing in both traffic and high quality links.  When you curate your own site content within a profile that is site branded, you are adding links and driving awareness.  Content curation can also serve as a great way to stay up to date with the latest trends, hottest topics, and most controversial information available for your field of interest.  While curation can be time consuming, picking on site to curate on can serve as a strong method for expanding your network and your audience.