If you have more than one friend on Facebook, one Twitter follower or one blog reader, then you have a following. Congratulations! Now, what exactly are they following?!
The magnitude of the pipe of information spewing into our brains is overwhelming. We could never sleep again just consuming the content that will be generated and published in the next 72 hours. Data overflow demands that we follow trusted guides to deflect the irrelevant content and lead us to the information that is relevant to our lives both personally and professionally.
In the past, we had a few channels of information and each channel had a few gatekeepers that sorted, prioritized and reported the information to the public. News editors identified “newsworthy” content and then it was reported to the readers / viewers.
Today, information-consumers have an endless supply of channels. News, entertainment, gossip and professional development all drain into the same information stream that flows rich throughout the connected world. The gatekeepers have been removed and anyone is free to flow about the stream looking for relevant and useful information, but then there’s the problem with all the world’s data doubling every few days. It’s easy to drown.
Enter Content Curation
Since people have “clipped” news articles, there has been content curation. Today, however, the information flow is that of a mighty raging river, and it’s easy to get lost in the current. Content curators are effective at managing a series of information pipes and sharing that with their following.
1. Collect -
The content curator’s work is never done. Minutes after perusing your RSS reader 20 more articles have been posted and the cycle starts again. In the mainstream news era, the national news came on at precisely the same time every night. Today the spicket is always on, and followers expect regular updates. If you are the source that a reader trusts for information about the latest techniques for capturing cat videos, a new underwater cat cam better not sneak by you. Use some of the tools in the link above to make sure that you are consuming and capturing the big stories.
2. Curate -
- Consistent Subject Matter – Because the information flow is swift and always moving, content curators must be consistent with their niche and resist the temptation to follow whims. Define the topics that you are going to cover.
- Direct Communication – Have you ever made a subtle joke on Twitter? Yeah, crickets. Social media has no appreciation for nuance, so as a curator, be direct. Perhaps it is unfortunate, but writing for the “rewired” brain requires big
- Filter Consistently – As news editors filtered the news that was worthy of their readership, think about what is relevant to your readership. Filter out the stories that are redundant, irrelevant or boring. It doesn’t hurt to ask your readers from time to time how well you are filtering.
3. Communicate -
- Be human - Don’t be a human TwitterFeed. No one wants to see 47 identical headlines. Bring your voice to your content. Be real. Be human.
- Be frequent not a freak when you overpublish - Yes, you need to publish with regularity but oversharing can be socially communicable disease that will cause all of your friends to leave.
One last word of caution. Content curators, your reputation is built click upon click, read upon read. Your social reputation can be jeopardized with one article that you skimmed too lightly, so pay attention and if you do make that mistake, own it.