The Art of Curation as a Valid Content Generation Tool


I came across this question, posed on a forum on LinkedIn that I follow.

I’ve seen on several sites lately repurposed or re-shared content from other sites, usually with a disclaimer at the top of the new piece that it has been adapted from the original article, with a link to the original.  What is the process for this?

I offer my answer below. I bring up the topic because people, businesses, nonprofits all need content to drive interest in their product or cause. Curation is a way to satisfy that need, but more than that, it’s a way of solidifying one’s expertise and of providing a service to readers.

If you’re a subject-area expert, you are steeped in the kind of information that readers might want. And if you’re sifting though that information and sharing the best nuggets with readers, you’re helping them keep track of information in their busy lives (hence the tortured metaphor of the sieve above, courtesy of Wikimedia).

Here’s another excerpt from the original question; my answer follows. What do you think? 

Is it assumed that the internet is a free-for-all and any content can be repurposed and re-shared with proper attribution? (What is that attribution?) 

My reply:

It sounds like you’re talking about curation. When it’s done well, and correctly, it’s a valid means of producing content for a site. Example: curated content from the New Yorker in this article

The writer has gone to the trouble of mining the New Yorker’s archives and applying his editorial judgment to what he considered the best religion articles. Then, he provided commentary and excerpted the articles, but also linked prominently to them.

To me, the keys to effective (and fair) curation are: 
* Adding value to the content you’re curating. That could be additional links to related content; your own commentary; new content that you produce; context around the curated content from other sources or your own previous work; photos.

* Giving readers good reasons to click through to the original source; said another way, you might be careful about how much you curate.

* Making sure the links to the original source are easy to find.

No, I don’t think there’s a reason to establish a connection between the two parties, under the conditions I’m describing.

What do you think?

Emerging trends in social media

The “liquid self” vs. the “network effect.” Plus this: “There’s now strong interest in services that let people talk with one another in contextual environments — friends from college, friends from home, family members, and so on. These services let you communicate using the norms, expectations and relationships you have with different groups. It’s a big trend that matters a lot. Conversely, if you communicate for an organization, it’s important not to overstep bounds and become too familiar.”

Emerging trends in social media

Can algorithms tweet better than people on Twitter?


So, apparently, I don’t know a good tweet when I see one. According to the New York Times blog The Upshot, a group of researchers from Cornell University developed an algorithm designed to predict which of two tweets would be retweeted more often.

The Times created a nifty quiz showing 25 pairs of similar tweets, and giving us ordinary folk the chance to predict which one got passed around more often on Twitter. I scored correctly on 14 out of the 25. The algorithm scored correctly on 18 of them.

I’m in good company, by the way. Marc Andreessen apparently only got one more right than I did, and I tied with Twitter co-founder Ev Williams and CBS news political director John Dickerson. (The best score recorded when I looked was 21/25 by Katie Notopoulos of Buzzfeed. Of course.)

There is hope for us mortals, according to the Times’ blog post on the topic:

That an algorithm can make these kinds of predictions shows the power of “big data.” It also illustrates a fundamental limitation of big data: Specifically, guessing which tweet gets retweeted is significantly easier than creating one that gets retweeted.

Why don’t you try the quiz and let me know how you did?