Sunday, December 18, 2011

Is automated content curation helping or hurting?

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Summary: The quest to clean up the noisy Twitter streams with efficient content curation is needed but can it be done effectively.

Every time I publish a post and hashtag it with #socialmedia on Twitter, I get notifications about how someone’s latest “Social Media Daily” being released with “Top Stories” by me and others has just been published. Most of you in the social media world are aware of sites like Paper.li - they allow you to set up an account and automatically aggregate content based on hashtag and organize it into what looks like an online news publication.

In probably one of the noisiest chapters in the online content era, I agree with the need for some help with meaningful content curation in an effort to cut through the noise that has rendered most high-level hashtag streams worthless because they’re so bloated. Initially I thought the Paper.li type service made sense until lots of users I follow or that follow me, started using it. Now I see dozens of Social Media Daily tweets containing all the same content as other Social Media Daily tweets from these users on top of their actual tweets and retweets.

I definitely don’t blame the users themselves for their intent to organize their content for their followers. I also don’t blame Paper.li or see their service as spammy. The bigger chicken/egg problem though is that while automating curation feels more necessary than ever, the byproduct of everyone doing it ends up achieving the opposite of what the desired intent was in the first place.

It can feel like taking a cab in New York. Your intent is to consolidate and use public transportation but if you replace personal vehicles on a packed street with taxi cabs, you now just have streets gridlocked with taxi cabs.

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Rich Harris has been a web marketer for over 10 years, with over 14 years experience in high-tech, both in the consumer and enterprise spaces.


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