Thursday, August 22, 2013

Social Curation

My family and friends think I'm nuts because I don't have a TV and I don't read the paper or magazines (unless they're free!). But I've noticed time and time again that I hear the latest news before they do, and manage to keep hyper-informed about issues that matter to me, be that current news, or things that I'm personally or professionally interested in. I admit I spend a lot of time glued to the screen (either my desktop at work, or my phone or laptop at home) but I'm a very selective consumer of information and I know how to evaluate it. Also I love discovering new sources of information and I'm not overly attached to any one source - if a website that I like starts to fill up with advertising at the expense of content, then they've lost my patronage. To be honest there is another reason why I don't have a TV or pay for content - it's because I can think of a million other things I'd rather spend my (limited!) money on and the internet offers everything I need. I pay for fast and reliable internet and I choose the content. And speaking of choosing content...
content curation tools
Image by Aivar Ruukel on Flickr, creative commons licence
Actually, this post was supposed to be about social curation tools because that's the topic for ANZ23mthings for this week - Thing 14: Curating with Pinterest, Tumblr, and Scoop.it and co-incidentally it also happens to be the week that we are launching our PD reading project at work, using the lovely Scoop.it as a platform. As part of the process of choosing which of the many social curation tools to go with, we analysed and compared a whole bunch of them. We rejected Delicious and Diigo as being old school in the way that they displayed content - visually uninteresting - although they did have better group and privacy settings. We rejected Pinterest on the basis that it was more suited to images and browsing rather than deeper reading, and we weren't that impressed with the web interface although it's great on a tablet or smartphone. Everyone was impressed by Flipboard but felt that it was once again more suited to the touch interface rather than the desktop, and didn't have enough scope for commenting on articles on the desktop version. Although I've decided to use it for my personal use and totally loving it.

We ended up being happy with our choice of Scoop.it although we are still in the early stages of our project. The aim is to get the whole team contributing articles of interest to our work, read the one's that spark our interest, and comment on them. The emphasis is on the reading and commenting part rather than merely collecting. We've got a controlled list of tags to make searching by topic easy. For me, the best part of this project is that we are all working in the same context (i.e. we are aware of the current library landscape outside of our immediate work environment) and we are all engaging in PD which is not daunting and hopefully will become a part of our daily or weekly routine.

The page we've created is pretty much just for our group so I'm not going to provide and links or details. We did notice that there wasn't a visually exciting social curation site that offered exactly what we needed - a space for a private group to collaborate. The trend is social, so you have to share! Let's see if what we have suits our needs...