Curation has been a hot topic for at least a year, and I agree with Tom Foremski, that it’s not just a trend, or as he puts it in a recent post, “a flash in the pan.” We all need to make sense of the mass of information that comes to us, and present it in a format that is easy to consume and communicate. So, we all tend to create our own “magazine” adopting a variety of criteria – and as any curator, we make decisions on what we want to collect, highlight, and share. In the end, digital curators are not fundamentally different from traditional curators.
The market offers multiple platforms: Flipboard, Paper.li, Yoono Socialzine, Keepstream, Qrait, Pearltrees, Bagtheweb, Curated.by, Storify or Zite, to name a few. Recently, I started to play with Scoop.it as a beta user, and liked its strong topic centric social media approach.
A topic centric social media approach: When I stepped into Scoop.it, I didn’t think of whom I was going to follow, but of topics that might be I interested in.
I came across a topic about Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment. So I became a follower.
I do not know the curator, and only time will tell me if she is somebody I will continue to follow, based on what I will like about her curator’s skills and her consistency over time.
Selecting content sources as a curator: You create your topic, add a description of what it is about, and create a number of key words related to the topic. Based on these key words, Scoop.it offers suggestions from default sources such as Google, Twitter, and others (which may solve the blank page syndrome), or from sources that you have listed as relevant environments for Scoop.it to crawl. You discard or select information as you see fit, and you can also create posts on the fly.
However, you do not need to be within Scoop.it to add to your topic. If you have dropped the Scoop button to your browser toolbar, you can also add content immediately – or you can also suggest new content to a topic created by somebody you follow.
For example, coming across an article about Enchantment in FastCompany, I sent this suggestion to Helene for her Enchantment Topic:
In addition to sharing capabilities (of a specific item on the page or of the whole page) and comment features, the notion of social suggestion sets Scoop.it apart from other platforms, and adds a socially collaborative dimension to curation. Curation enables people to connect based on centers of interests. The majority of your Facebook friends may not care about your love for video games. So why bother them when you can animate a topic-driven community?
Editorial control: This is a really appealing aspect of Scoop.it — and ultimately what empowers people who perform their curators’ role. When you select a piece for publication, you can customize the title or summarize the article the way you wish, or do so even after it is published.
You can move the various items around the page and highlight a specific article (see the green ribbon on the image above), tag the content, or modify the size of images or wrap the text around these images. Curators are not only savvy information selectors, they can also express who they are in the way they stage what they offer. In addition, as a curator, you can delete what you want when you want it – by default, pages are stored in reverse-chronological order just as in a blog. Well, good curation may be the art of conservation, after all…
The product is already quite compelling and, speaking with repeat entrepreneur/co-founder/CEO Guillaume Decugis*, I understand that multiple additional features are in the works: integration with social aggregators, along with the ability to add the Scoop.it button wherever you are, a widget enabling display of a curated page on a blog or website, search/filtering/cataloging capabilities, and an open API. “We have a lot of features in mind,” Guillaume. “The whole point, though, is to keep the product simple to use.”
* The other co-founder is Marc Rougier, also a repeat entrepreneur.