Most collectors are aware that they are curating their collections — or at least they should be! But now, there’s online curation, or more specifically, online content curation.
Unlike blogging or writing on the web (called “content creation”), content curation is the process of sorting through the created content on the web and presenting it to others. In the most simple terms, it’s rather like being the editor of your own magazine, picking the stories, images, and information you’d like to keep and/or share with others (unless you want to keep it private). Almost all curation sites include standard social networking features (being able to follow members and/or subscribe to curated collections) as well as allow you to connect and even sign-up easily via Facebook and Twitter.
While a lot of attention has been made of using digital curation for businesses and bloggers, collectors of antiques and vintage items will enjoy this as well. It’s a great way to organize information on what you collect, save links to resources, show off what you and your collecting friends have posted of your collections online, do some window shopping… Maybe drop a few hints… *wink*
Here are my favorite three sites for content curation for collectors of antiques & vintage collectibles:
The most well-known content curation site is Pinterest. While Pinterest is not the first of these content curation sites (far from it!), it has managed to capture a lot of media attention and an incredibly high number of users.
Pinterest is primarily image based, which works well for showing off pretty things, such as collectibles and DIY project ideas, but it isn’t necessarily suited well for articles and “how to”s. In fact, many Pinterest members go out of their way not to properly credit what’s shared, like Tumblr folks. This can be quite annoying for both those who have created content as well as those who want the information behind the photograph. Also, such little text also makes searching a bit more difficult.
However, Pinterest is rather easy to use, and allows for a rather unlimited number of collections or “pin boards” and probably has people you know there, making interacting easy. The site currently has you join a wait list rather than begin immediately. Typically, you only wait a day or two, even less if a friend invites you; but it does put a damper on one’s enthusiasm.
If your intent is to drive traffic to your own website, Pinterest leaves a bit to be desired as most people there for the pretty pictures — and once they’ve seen them on Pinterest, they aren’t as inclined to find out more. Pinterest does not show you any statistics on how many people have seen your pins or pinboards.
(This is me at Pinterest.)
Scoop.It has a great name which invokes what you are doing: You “scoop” content off the Internet and create pages which resemble little newspapers or magazines.
Since Scoop.It is focused on articles, you get to include far more text with your “scoop,” yet not give away the whole article, which just makes for better Internet friends. You also can add an image to your “scoop”, which is a nice visual when the article you are using doesn’t have one. And Scoop.It also has a suggestion option which allows you to suggest a link for another member to scoop onto their own topic. If your suggestion is used, you get a little link crediting you. This is a nice community feature that allows you to connect with other members and participate in topics past your own.
At the free level, you may have up to five collections, called “Topics.” Because you only have five free collections, you should think ahead of time and decide just what collections you want to focus on curating. If you collect a lot things, or do a lot of research, you probably want to go make each topic a bit broader, rather than being too specific on each one. Or you can pay to upgrade your service, which includes not only a larger number of topics but the option to use your own domain name. Unlike many other content curation sites, Scoop.It does not have a main page on which you can just watch the action of what other members are doing, so you’ll have to rely on the site’s search function to see what other topics you’ll want to subscribe to. And Scoop.It does not allow for you to have private topics.
Scoop.It is designed to push folks out to the original content sources, so even though finding topics and scoops is a bit more difficult, there is some traffic to be found here. Scoop.It‘s stats take some getting used to; paid members apparently get more information on stats and analytics than free users.
(This is me at Scoop.It.)
Now we get to my favorite content curation site: Snip.It. Like it sounds, you curate by “snipping” content from the web, making your own digital scrapbooks out of the articles and images others have produced — while giving the creators proper credit and encouraging folks to go visit the content creators website, blog, gallery, etc.
Why is Snip.It my favorite? Because it primarily focuses on article curation in ways that suit me best. Along with being able to have a rather unlimited number of collections (including private ones for research I don’t want to share yet), Snip.It highlights or features great collections on the site, making it easier to find collections to subscribe to and collectors to follow.
On the main page, the most recent “snips” from featured collections are shown, with the most recent at the top. And there are also specific categories (such as “Arts & Culture” and “History”) which contain featured collections, also with the most recent “snips” at the top. Since featured collections are selected by the folks working for Snip.It, real people are differentiating good curation from spammers who join and just want to promote junk. Because of this way of showcasing good snipped content and good snippers, I’ve been able to find a number of great resources for reading, researching — and maybe even collecting, who knows? *wink*
This is the site I’ve also had the most conversations with other members, via comments. I like that.
Snip.It is created with readers and snippers in mind, and drives people to the curated content. Even though I’ve been participating in Snip.It the least amount of time, I’ve seen the most about of traffic to my sites from it. Snip.It does offer stats on how often your collections are viewed; additional, more in depth, stats will be available soon.
(This is me at Snip.It.)
Whichever online curation site you choose, I’m sure you’ll quickly find yourself enjoying it — just don’t spend so much time online that you forget to go to garage sales, flea markets and auctions! *wink*
Have you found any good content curation sites? Please do share in the comments!