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Where do I find all this content?

“We’re a small company. How are we  going to come up with content everyday for our social media sites?”

This question came up at a networking event that I attended this week called MEEX.
Along with, “where do we find time to do social media?”, it’s the most common one I hear from small business owners.
I volunteered my advice that she “curate” some content.

After the presentation, four people came up to me and asked what I meant by “curate”.
The problem when you get so immersed in a subject is that you start to speak “jargon” and “buzz words”.

A blog post was born.

What is curation?

The word curator actually comes from the Latin “take care”. For example, a museum curator cares for his art collection.

In the social media context, it’s the act of discovering, selecting and sharing digital content around a specific topic.

Although the “buzzword” is popular in marketing and SEO circles, we’re all curators to some degree or other.
Whenever we share images or links on Facebook or Twitter we’re curating.
Whenever Glee does a mashup, they’re curating.

Why refer to the Latin defiition?

Because being a master curator means caring about and standing behind the content you choose to share with your followers.

Otherwise, you’re a “news aggregator“.

You’re a master curator if you care that the content you’re sharing…

a. is relevant to your followers

b. adds value

c. is authentic

Sharing is not stealing

Sharing other people’s content doesn’t give you licence to appropriate other people’s creative property.
For instance, in his Fast Company article: Content Curators Are The New Superheros Of The Web, Steven Rosenbaum writes:

“The growth in content, both in terms of pure volume and the speed of publishing, has raised some questions about what best practices are in the curation space. Here’s where you should start:

1.  If you don’t add context, or opinion, or voice and simply lift content, it’s stealing.

2.  If you don’t provide attribution, and a link back to the source, it’s stealing.

3.  If you take a large portion of the original content, it’s stealing.

4.  If someone asks you not to curate their material, and you don’t respect that request, it’s stealing.

5.  Respect published rights. If images don’t allow creative commons use, reach out to the image creator–don’t just grab it and ask questions later.”

 

Why curate?

Because we’re not Mitch Joel who seems to be able to write blog posts in his sleep and produce podcasts before his first bowl of Cheerios. For the rest of us, we add curation to our content mix because it:

  1. Helps us establish thought leadership.
  2. Provides an important service to our readers by helping them sort through the overwhelming amount of content on the Web.
  3. Helps us stay informed

(btw, I recommend Mitch’s own weekly curation feature: Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention)

Curation Tools: 

Now for the fun part. Here’s some of the curation tools and apps that I use regularly both on my iPad (where I do most curation) and my desktop.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are far too many tools and strategies to list here.

iPad:

Mr Reader

Magazine format: ZITE, FLIPBOARD, News360,  The major difference between Zite and Flipboard for me is that on ZITE, I categorize my topics by headings such as: Arts & Culture, Social Business,etc. While on Flipboad, I import my feeds eg. my Google+ Twitter and Facebook accounts.
I use these sites after I go through my RSS feeds and Google+ circles to find lots of great stuff serendipitously. Otherwise, I’m always swimming in the same content pool.

Mr. Reader (RSS feeds) – This is by far my favourite RSS reader for the iPad. The interface is great to work with. It updates in real time and it makes it very simple to “buffer” posts.

News 360 – News aggregator. Great interface. News items easily shared on multiple platforms.

Desktop:

hootsuite

 

These are the platforms and apps that I use most regularly when I’m at my desk.
Google Reader (RSS Feed) – I organize folders according to topics and scan daily for the newest and most relevant content. Here’s a video tutorial for setting one up.

 

Google+ – Google+ is all about the “interest graph” so it makes it very easy to organize circles according to subjects.

So if I want to share the latest news on Apple or what’s happening in the artworld, I go to the appropriate circle.

Hootsuite – Social media dashboard that I use primarily for Twitter. I go to my different “lists” for new topics or create a hashtag search and save it as a stream.

There’s also a long list of online magazines such as Paper.li, Scoop.it, and Twylah as well as social media sites that are essentially curation platforms like Pinterest.

 

How do you find your “sharable” content?

 

About Ray Hiltz

Ray Hiltz is a Google Plus Specialist and Social Media Strategist helping small businesses establish their brands and build their communities on the social web. A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus. His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social". Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.