Social Curation for Writers

By Maria Perez, Profnet

Twice a month, ProfNet hosts #ConnectChat, a Twitter-based interview that covers topics of interest to media and communications professionals. The latest chat featured writer Linda Bernstein, who discussed social curation for writers. 

Image of Social Curation for Writers

Linda Bernstein

With all of the information and data available online, it’s more important than ever for writers to filter through the noise. In this chat, Bernstein discussed why writers should use social curation, including some of the available tools that help work manage the social clutter.

Bernstein teaches social media in the continuing education program at Columbia University’s School of Journalism. She has more than 35 years of experience in all corners of journalism and publishing, including as editor of Sesame Street Parents, Scholastic Parent and Child and Modern Bride Connection magazines. She is currently a contributor to PBS’ Next Avenue. In addition, she is a speaker, social media consultant and conference organizer. Her own blog,GenerationBSquared, is an active voice for the baby boomer generation.

Following is a recap of the chat:

Linda, thanks so much for joining us. Let’s get right to it. What is social curation?

Social curation is selecting and organizing material you pick up on social media. With curation, we make sure our audience has best possible information.

What’s the difference between curation and aggregation?

Aggregation is simply bringing together a bunch of stuff in a “pile,” so to speak. Curation involves thought, judgment, and selection.

So aggregation is getting all the info, and curation is sorting through it?

Yes, aggregation is collecting; curating is choosing and selecting and making sense. Journalists need to focus on information and filter away all the noise of social.

What is good definition of noise, and how do you avoid it?

Noise, I would say, is all the information that floats about on social that may be inaccurate or not useful. We avoid noise by becoming good curators — which is what we’re talking about!

In what ways are people already curating on social media?

We are all already using Twitter lists, and “friend” settings on Facebook. We also have been, in our heads at least, selecting trusted sources. We also curate the experts we get from ProfNet. If someone is great, we follow her and use again.

Why is curation important for journalists/writers? Why do they need to be doing it?

There is so much happening on social that, without it, we would go nuts — or not see the story. Curating also means we have better, accurate sources we trust. Curation isn’t something that happens overnight. You work on it over time.

Can you give an example of how a writer would use curation for, say, breaking news?

For Twitter, you would search hashtags. You can use http://search.twitter.com orTwitterfall.com. Also, don’t forget to look at trending topics. You might find the most used hashtags there. Also, see who is tweeting in the hashtag. Use search! Hashtags are so rich with possibility. Find journalists and experts you trust and follow them. It helps to do your homework way beforehand. Choose major cities; find news sources there you trust.

How do you make sure you’re not plagiarizing when you’re curating?

Be smart. Give credit. Follow fair use laws. Find out what is copyrighted and cannot be shared. Here’s a link to U.S. fair use/copyright laws:http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html 

Do you have a favorite tool for curating?

My favorite tool: my brain. Also:

  • For curating people, I love oneQube. While following my home stream, I can click on buttons to find out about people. Here is my oneQube for today’s chat report:http://qub.me/EfPIbo.
  • HootSuite enables you to filter tweets so you get rid of noise: Get Started with Twitter and HootSuite.
  • For putting together a story, nothing beats Storify. It pulls in videos and tweets from the Web. Here are some great directions for putting together a Storify: Tips for Using Storify in Your Reporting and Digital Storytelling.
  • Archive.ly, a people research platform in now in closed beta. Their CEO, Perri Blake Gorman, is on Twitter: @bethebutterfly.
  • OverBlog, a blogging platform that enables you to highlight your curated social, including Facebook and Google +.
  • SeeSaw is amazing. You type in a hashtag, and it shows you tiles. Pictures from links are displayed. With SeeSaw, you can take the tiles you see and like and save them to a board.
  • Rebel Mouse: collects your social stream – you can embed it into your site. Widely used by news orgs.
  • Prismatic lets you connect to a newsfeed based on your interests.
  • With Scoop.it, you decide on a topic, name the stream, and handpick sources. Also offers some suggested content.
  • For journalists, Storyful verifies information. It’s not a free tool, but most news organizations subscribe.
  • Pocket (formerly Read It Later) is my favorite way to save things to read later. You can organize what you save with tags.

Pocket sounds really interesting, especially for those of us with terrible memories.

I have a button on my browser. It makes life easy! In fact, most of these tools have browser buttons. Here is a list, though some of the tools aren’t around anymore: The Best Content Curation Tools for Journalists.

With so many tools, how do we decide which one to use?

I always say: Be an early tester. Be a thoughtful adopter. Try them all. Use what you like. There are so many wonderful tools, but, ultimately, they will impede us unless we settle on a few helpful ones. You should curate your tools as well as all the information.

ProfNet, a service of PR Newswire, connects PR professionals with journalists and writers in need of subject-matter experts.  Each month, ProfNet users are quoted inhundreds of media outlets, ranging from major newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times to trade magazines like Risk Management and QSR magazine.  Users receive queries about potential story opportunities daily, and can manage the type and volume of queries received.  Want to know more? Get a quote or request a free trial at: http://www.prnewswire.com/profnet/profnet-experts/

Published: May 28, 2013 By: davidk