Great post by Robin Hamman, who leads the Social Media practice at Headshift, Curating, Not Moderating, the Flow of Content and Participation. He discusses how the value of using aggregation and curation:
A simple enough idea, in practice curation of external and social content has been relatively difficult for media brands and other organisations to put themselves at the centre of the flow of information and content around them. That, at least, was my experience at the BBC where, for more than seven years, I (and others) tried to come up with a solution to this problem, culminating in the well received but ultimately unsustainable, at least within the (non)budgetary confines in which it existed, BBC Manchester Blog.
In the post they describe a new site around climate change:
Climate Pulse tracks a wide range of source for information, comment and content about the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference (COP15). It’s different from mere aggregation services because there is an editorial layer and a social layer. The editorial layer allows curators to highlight specific pieces of content. The Social layer gets users involved in tagging and categorising content. In the near future, you’ll even be able to take away a widget containing the flow from Climate Pulse – a widget that lets your friends, contacts or audience to not only consume but to contribute their own content, straight from your site, back into that flow.
This flow is shown visually as the following:
The flow that they show is similar to what I described in Curator Editor Research as shown below:
While the approaches are quite similar in their goals, there’s actually some pretty interesting differences in how they’ve approached content aggregation, editorial, curation and filtering.
It appears that they are bringing in far broader initial content than normally is done with Browse My Stuff sites. We try to avoid content coming in that might not come from vetted sights. While we could bring in filtered RSS news feeds, we generally have not done that. The more vetting you do of initial sources, the easier it is to curate, edit and filter.
Their editorial and curation is a bit different. They do some automated, but mostly manual tagging. They choose what to feature. This requires significantly more work, but I’m sure results in pretty good filtering of the content coming in. If someone is willing to do this work, that’s great to have.
Browse My Stuff relies much more heavily on Social Filtering than the approach that they take. We look at the activities of people on the site as well as off-site in order to surface good content. This greatly reduces the total effort required.
It’s great to have seen this example because it helps to highlight the need for these kinds of solutions.