My understanding and practice of digital curation may not match dictionary definitions of curating, but I think ‘curating’ is the best way to describe the finding, reading and passing on (or stashing) of interesting digital content.
In this post for BYOD4L I am going to write a bit about what I do and some of the tools I use.
Curating people: Twitter lists, G+ circles and communities.
When people complain about finding too little relevant and interesting material in the social media spaces they have tried I tend to think it is because they haven’t done this first bit of curation – choosing who to include in your streams. Twitter allows you to create lists and see what people in them are posting without necessarily following them, or to sort people you do follow into those lists. In Google Plus, sorting the people you follow into circles or joining communities formed around particular topics makes controlling the types of material coming into your social media stream at any moment easy. Once you have selected and sorted the people you want to follow you can share these groups with friends, colleagues and online connections by making your Twitter lists public, sharing a Google circle or inviting others to join a community.
Keeping up with blogs using Feedly
A blog reader such as Feedly (Inoreader is also good) will pull the latest posts from all the blogs you want to subscribe to and present them to you in an easy-to-read format on all your mobile devices. Sort your subscriptions into collections and you can check out just the sort of content you want, when you want it. For example, I have collections for General Tech, Higher Education, Ed.Tech, my University and some personal interest topics.
Pop it in your Pocket for later.
When I come across something interesting on social media or while browsing the internet but don’t have time to read it, I no longer get frustrated because I can pop it in Pocket (previously called Read It Later) to read later, online or offline on any of my devices, when I have some downtime. Mobile apps and a browser bookmarklet make adding stuff to Pocket really easy and the ability to read things offline make it ideal for those times when you are travelling or waiting for people to turn up to meetings.
Flipboard for saving, collaborating and sharing.
So far I’ve only talked about finding and selecting material but curating requires presenting some of what you find for others. On most social media the selecting and re-presenting happens in a quick and seamless way, so you may hardly realise you are doing it. Every retweet is a small act of curation, as is resharing a G+ post, especially if you add a comment of your own, but those ‘shares’ tend to drift down the social media streams and are quickly gone. Creating a Flipboard magazine can be a more deliberate and sustained form of curation that can be public and even collaborative (see the BYOD4L magazine for example). Other users can choose to follow your magazines, comment, like or reflip items into their own magazines. The sharing options in Flipboard mean that you can also reshare from Flipboard to other apps.
Diigo for bookmarking.
I use Diigo in a limited way, for collecting tagged bookmarks of web resources that can be pulled up as collections of resources on a given topic whenever colleagues ask. We also have a Diigo group for members of our team where we can share items we find between ourselves.
Evernote for stashing.
Although you can use Evernote for sharing its role in my curating is as a Library – a place to store reference material to read again later or share with others in future. I also use Evernote for note-making and organising many aspects of my life, but as far as curating is concerned material that I have found on Twitter, Google Plus or in a blog (via Feedly) and perhaps read in Pocket and shared to Flipboard and/or Diigo will end up tagged and stashed in Evernote so that I can find it easily whenever I want it. I also use IFTTT (If This Then That) recipes to automatically archive all my tweets and G+ posts to Evernote.
In the BYOD4L tweetchat for Wednesday I said that ‘To me, curating means finding, selecting, sorting, reading, sharing & saving digital ‘stuff’ #BYOD4Lchat’ and this post has explained how I go about doing that and which tools I like to use for doing it. There are lots of other apps and platforms out there that will do similar things but these suit me and I hope you will find a set of tools to suit your curating practice.