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Robin Good's insight:
Many content curation startups, and many of the people using curation tools will probably not like what I have written in this article, but I have a hard time behaving as if I couldn't see a cardboard façade that's been sold for a real destination.
Content Curation has been hijacked and has been sold as a cheap and easy solution for content marketers plagued by the growing problem of getting greater attention from their readers and therefore of how to produce more quality content within tighter and tighter time constraints.
Worse yet, if you confront content marketers with the idea that what they are encouraging people to do, does in fact create more "noise" and confusion than we already have, content marketers will counter with statistical data demonstrating that this "curation strategy" does indeed pay off and also within relative short times.
What these people miss to see is that you can't really fake what makes a great curator great. You can pick and post lots of stuff, you can share and report to all the channels you want, but the ability and patience to truly vet, verify, unearth and illustrate why something is of value, is just another thing. And anyone who has eyes and time to check, can easily see that.
Once the early curation fad is gone, and once there are millions more people reposting stuff they haven't even read, those who will have patiently spent this time to truly gather, vet, collect, organize, contextualize and illustrate unique documents, information and resources, will instantly become the go-to reference points in their information niche.
Morale of the story: You can reach the top on mountain Everest step by step as much as someone else can get there by helicopter. Both of you see the same view and stand on the same ground, apparently, but what you can bring back and share with others is immensely greater than what the other guy can.
Content curation startups and content marketers promoting the use of content curation should highlight, model and exemplify what true, value-adding curation is and guide their adopters to create more value rather than more, shortly lived, noise.
Content marketing can only benefit from content curation, once it realizes that curation is not a technique that can be adopted or an add-on. Content curation requires a true interest on the part of the curator to uncover, highlight and contextualize high value resources that would otherwise go unnoticed or unappreciated. Otherwise he is wasting not only his time and ours, but also diluting, often forever, his reputation as a trustable source.
Reading time: 8'
Suggested readings: Content Curation Guide
Robin Good: This is a one-hour recording of a webinar, where Jane Hart interviews David Kelly on curation.
I am reporting about it, because Jane's has lot of visibility and a good reputation, but while there is a lot of good, basic, introductory information about curation in this interview, some of the critical information contained in it, is at best incorrect if not altogether misleading to those seeking to understand the actual differences between the different curation tools presented.
The "expert" guest is David Kelly, a workplace learning enthusiast writing his own blog and sharing interesting info on his Twitter channel. His specialty, is actually collecting and sharing relevant links emerging in the backchannels of key conferences.
While he does a good job of introducing what is curation (tapping fully into Rohit Barghava model but never acknowledging/ or referencing it), the different types of approaches that can be used, and dismantling the myth of "personal curation", he insists on a few of points that, in my humble view, are in need of review.
1) Know your data sources (not just one though).
Mr Kelly insists that one of the top skills a curator needs to have, is the ability to manage and skillfully use your key data source (in his case Twitter). True. But in reality, any good curator needs to be able to tap and be able to find and retrieve relevant information coming from anywhere. Limiting your source to Twitter, YouTube, or Facebook may actually be very limiting if your goal is to not to curate a "technology platform output", but what people are saying on a specific topic, no matter where they say it.
b) Everybody can be a curator. By clicking the "Share" button on Facebook makes anyone a curator as much as saving a file in Photoshop makes you a digital artist. No specific competence needed. As long as the stuff is cool and interesting.
c) Tools. Mr Kelly claims that while Storify, helps you to manually curate stories by picking and selecting individual pieces of information coming from different sources, tools such as Paper.li and Scoop.it do not provide such ability, as they automatically generate a news-magazine based on criteria you have provided.
While this is mostly true for Paper.li, it is definitely not true for Scoop.it, a tool that has no automatic publishing feature (like paper.li does) and which requires manual intervention from the user to select, edit and post whichever content items are most relevant to their audience needs.
Yes, I am an avid Scoop.it user, I am not posting this to defend this platform or to try to make it look better. Storify is a great curation tool indeed, but it has no better research, filtering or aggregation or content curation support than Scoop.it does. Scoop.it technology requires as much human intervention to curate content than Storify does.
May be more. Not less.
For one, and to meet Mr Kelly on his own grounds, Scoop.it provides a lot more opportunities to source and gather valuable content in its backend than Storify does, providing a richer set of filters and pre-set persistent search engines hooks than Storify does.
Therefore Mr Kelly recommendation of Storify, not only is founded on incorrect information, but it shows that Mr Kelly has clearly never used (beyond using it for news discovery) at least one of the tools he is using to make his evaluations, making his recommendations unreliable (this is how much he has used Scoop.it before evaluating it: http://i.imgur.com/AoaOU.jpg)
N.B.: I watched this whole video, from beginning to end, twice, to make sure I had not missed anything important.
For Jane: I would love you to exercise more pro-active curation of your interviewees, as asking questions to someone who may be passionate, but who has a limited experience in a specific area, can instantaneously dent into YOUR credibility and trust by those who know and appreciate you most, even when, most of the information being shared is of value.
I would question how someone who transparently admits not to include any opinion in his curation work can be considered a curator to whom to go and ask for advice.
Maybe I would frame this differently, as for example having an open conversation with someone starting to explore this field (given the amount of time he has spent and researched this area by his own admission), and everything said in here could become suddenly fully acceptable. But if you serve this as an "expert" voice to listen to, I have all the right to ask proof for this "experience".
I may be a demanding perfections but I think that interviews must maintain a level of critical judgement whereby the answer you receive are not just opportunities to compliment your guests, but also vital spots to ask difficult questions, demand examples and some kind of proof of what is being claimed.
For David: I actually think you did a great job, as you introduced and well explained some of the basic concepts of curation clearly.
Tools and their use is an area where there is a lot more to explore and I look forward to a more precise re-evaluation of the tools you have selected.
I really have nothing against you, but I feel it is my role to use this space also to be constructively critical of anything that I see could be improved. I probably make more mistakes than you do, and you are welcome anytime to highlight them.
P.S.: For readers: The overall length of the webinar is one-hour but there are only a few slides to see. You are not going to miss much if you just listen to it.
Some good things tainted by some incorrect information. Opportunity to reflect on those curating curators. (A little bug can rot a great apple.)
Robin Good's insight:
When you see someone re-posting "unedited and uncommented" 20 news stories to Scoop.it, Twitter and Facebook within the arc of just 60 minutes, and you see thousands of daily visitors checking that account, you start wondering, whether content curation is just a fad, a buzzword to sell more of the same, or whether those doing this have any idea that they are digging their own credibility grave too deep and early.
Excerpted from Business2Community: "Having a frequently updated Twitter stream filled with interesting, engaging content from obscure sources that you contextualize is content curation, right? Not so fast.
A curator isn’t just someone who can find great “stuff,” though it is an important skill.
A curator is someone who creates a specific experience using found objects and contextualizes those objects within a limited space. A curator not only collects and interprets, but houses that work to create unique experiences."
Erica Ayotte writes about the growing friction between shallow content marketing practices sold as content curation (automated republishing of content across diverse social media channels), and what it really takes to stand out and provide a useful information service.
What digital curation does include is hand selecting great content and often commenting or otherwise providing context or a unique perspective to accompany a piece of content.
The Internet is a big place And those who point us in the right any direction are becoming increasingly valuable.
By making the Internet smaller, focusing our attention, providing context, and creating relevant experiences, curators actually enhance our online experiences.
Let’s hold curation up to the standard that it deserves and stop pretending that interesting tweets = content curation.
This process takes time, skill, and creativity that should be recognized.