It’s no longer enough just to blog. Collecting good posts, pictures and information creates value. Curation (a valuable collection of content) is the new content creation, and it will be on the rise in 2012.
Here's how to understand and manage this new wave.
1. Content is still king
Blog posts, articles, e-books, comments and what we see on Facebook and Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, all of that stand-alone information, is content. A web search for the phrase “content is king” shows why content is still most important. Content is evidence of knowledge and experience. It’s useful and people like it.
Many experts prove themselves by offering content. One of the very best ways to validate who you are is by publishing what you know. And we do most of that for free.
2. Content overload
Once, there was value to finding information. Now, there’s value to sorting through the vast oceans of available information and sifting the good from the bad, useful from useless. Would you rather have five good blog posts about an important topic, or a Google listing of 5 million posts on the subject?
3. Value of content sorting and sifting
The need for curation is proportional to the deluge of content.
4. Curation is best part of social media
When people I know and respect post links to posts, articles and other content that interests them that’s curation. And it’s gold.
5. Hot, new business of curation
According to SWAG (scientific wild-assed guesses), what’s really hot right now aren’t the new social media platforms, because Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn and a few others have so much critical mass and momentum. Instead, what’s really hot are the curation offerings, such as Tumblr, Pinterest and Scoop.it, that offer us a relatively easy way to collect the posts, pictures and other stuff we like, and share it. That’s not so new—Digg and Delicio.us started that several years ago, but it’s growing.
6. New curation sites
I’ve spent a lot of time in recent weeks looking at how Tumblr, Scoop.it, Pinterest, Delicio.us and a few others work. Try this list of best tumblr sites from Buzzfeed, or the best pinterest boards. Here’s my own attempt at a bplans scoop.it site. My daughter Megan did this pinterest board just since signing up a couple months ago. With a full-time job elsewhere, she’s only dabbling.
7. Done well, curation takes time and effort
Initially, your reaction to the art of curation might be, “hooray, now I don’t have to write a new blog post every day. I can just collect and share my collection.” But the novelty of that wears off very quickly. Collecting good relevant content doesn’t happen easily. The best of these curation sites show the same level of work as an excellent blog does, sometimes more.
8. Keep it legal
I’m not an attorney, so this is just an educated layman’s guess at deciding what's legal. We can publish or post somebody's headline with a link to their published content as often as we want without violating copyright law or acting against the spirit of copyright and intellectual property. (Link to this post with its headline and I’ll thank you.)
But copying somebody’s work and posting it as your own is illegal and unethical. Copying it from their site and posting it on yours is illegal unless you have permission, even if you attribute their authorship and ownership.
And in the middle, the gray areas, you can almost always include a few teaser lines, along with a link, and that’s OK. It’s tougher with pictures, though that’s not all black and white. Linking to somebody else’s picture so it shows up on your site can generate some hard questions, even though you’re just republishing.
9. Done right, collections have real value
We’ve known this for years. Think of a prominent list of top 10 books on a certain topic, compared to an 11th book. Think of all those “top posts” and “10 posts” lists you read.
10. The world needs better tools for curation
I’ve got some tools that curate three or four top sites and some that combine some of the top sites for reading. But there’s a lot of room out there for something better. Let’s all keep our eyes open.
If you’ve found tools that let you consolidate your incoming and outgoing tweets, links and Facebook updates, tell me.
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