Aggregate or Curate? That is the question.

Social Media Today: Aggregation vs. Curation

When attempting to organize the plethora of information available to us on the web, a person has two options: aggregation and curation.  Simply put, to aggregate resources means to archive them, or syndicate them.  The most common aggregation comes in the form of RSS feeds (Real Simple Syndication).  Many popular news agencies, blogs and websites offer their material in the form of an RSS feed in which the user (you) would subscribe to the stream of information the agency puts out on the net.  Simple, right???

Curating, on the other hand, occurs when you share the valuable content you have found with your social networks.  In many ways, you must aggregate then curate just as when looking for gold you scoop a pile of sand, then sift through it for the valuable nuggets.  When curating, you are sharing the valuable nuggets you have found on the web with your social networks.

Here’s a recap

As I hinted above, there are many ways to both aggregate and curate.  Here are a few which I found most helpful.

Aggregation

Curation

My take

Over the past year, with my devices (and device use) increasing, I have really become interested on not only how to best aggregate but also how to best curate.  In other words, when I do find something of use, either in my personal or professional life, I want to share it.  So here is how.

Since I generally read the news via an iOS device, I am using one of a few main apps to get the news.  I mainly use Flipboard to search for stories relevant to my field and interest/expertise (Education: Technology).  Within Flipboard, I signed into my Twitter account (for professional use) to allow me to easily curate once I have found a gem.  This also means I get an aggregation of content from those I have chosen to follow (i.e. Adam Bellow, founder of EduTecher).  On the go, I tag those stories into another app (Pocket) so I can read them later.  This is my way of sifting through the sand, and saving the stories that may look like gold so I can properly inspect them.

Though I am a member of many social networks, I use only a select few for my professional life.  Twitter has proven a great resource as I can search for subjects using Hashtags (I aggregate a few topics using HootSuite.  With topics, followers and the like selected in HootSuite, I can send the real web gems out to many social networks with the click of a mouse.

Here’s where it gets tricky.  I have used If This Then That, an algorithm tool, to set recipes to send the aggregated content to places.  My tweets, and tweets from those users and topics I follow (#edtechchat) are archived to my Google Drive for storage.  My tweets also are sent to Diigo (a social bookmarking tool) where I can tag them according to subject and group for future use.  Lastly, when I mark a story as read in Pocket, that story is automatically sent to Diigo so it doesn’t dissappear into the great wide open.  

So there’s my convoluted method.  The choice is yours.  I recommend choosing a few tools which work for you to streamline your workflow.  And always remember, seperate your personal account from your professional one.

Oh…one more thing.

When I hit publish on this post, a tweet was sent (using IFTTT) triggering the chain reaction of curation.

 

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When attempting to organize the plethora of information available to us on the web, a person has two options: aggregation and curation. Simply put, to aggregate resources means to archive them, or syndicate them. The most common aggregation comes in the form of RSS feeds (Real Simple Syndication). Many popular news agencies, blogs and websites offer their material in the form of an RSS feed in which the user (you) would subscribe to the stream of information the agency puts out on the net. Simple, right???

Curating, on the other hand, occurs when you share the valuable content you have found with your social networks. In many ways, you must aggregate then curate just as when looking for gold you scoop a pile of sand, then sift through it for the valuable nuggets. When curating, you are sharing the valuable nuggets you have found on the web with your social networks.

Here’s a recap

As I hinted above, there are many ways to both aggregate and curate. Here are a few which I found most helpful.

Aggregation

Curation

My take

Over the past year, with my devices (and device use) increasing, I have really become interested on not only how to best aggregate but also how to best curate. In other words, when I do find something of use, either in my personal or professional life, I want to share it. So here is how.

Since I generally read the news via an iOS device, I am using one of a few main apps to get the news. I mainly use Flipboard to search for stories relevant to my field and interest/expertise (Education: Technology). Within Flipboard, I signed into my Twitter account (for professional use) to allow me to easily curate once I have found a gem. This also means I get an aggregation of content from those I have chosen to follow (i.e. Adam Bellow, founder of EduTecher). On the go, I tag those stories into another app (Pocket) so I can read them later. This is my way of sifting through the sand, and saving the stories that may look like gold so I can properly inspect them.

Though I am a member of many social networks, I use only a select few for my professional life. Twitter has proven a great resource as I can search for subjects using Hashtags (I aggregate a few topics using HootSuite. With topics, followers and the like selected in HootSuite, I can send the real web gems out to many social networks with the click of a mouse.

Here’s where it gets tricky. I have used If This Then That, an algorithm tool, to set recipes to send the aggregated content to places. My tweets, and tweets from those users and topics I follow (#edtechchat) are archived to my Google Drive for storage. My tweets also are sent to Diigo (a social bookmarking tool) where I can tag them according to subject and group for future use. Lastly, when I mark a story as read in Pocket, that story is automatically sent to Diigo so it doesn’t dissappear into the great wide open.

So there’s my convoluted method. The choice is yours. I recommend choosing a few tools which work for you to streamline your workflow. And always remember, seperate your personal account from your professional one.

Oh…one more thing.

When I hit publish on this post, a tweet was sent (using IFTTT) triggering the chain reaction of curation.

Author: camreich

Director of Technology and Instruction, Salesianum School

2 thoughts on “Aggregate or Curate? That is the question.”

  1. I hope we can talk more about how you process your aggregation and curation. I love Flipboard too, but because I use my iPad for my personal life, I rarely turn on Twitter, etc. So I feel like I am in two worlds: personal and private and I definitely want to keep them separate. Thanks for this post.

  2. Hi, Michael: I really appreciated your post. It was very well done and helped me to wrap my mind around what a daily workflow might look like, when one has the twin goals of curation and aggregation in mind. One question that I have is: do you find that this workflow of aggregating, sifting, and curating/sharing has opened you up to controversies and alternate viewpoints, or do you find that the social network conventions of followers (a-la twitter) or circles (a-la Google+) tends to lead to that problem wherein it is difficult to hear other viewpoints. Just curious as to your experiences. Thanks for the great read!

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