It’s all about plucking out the best bits of the web out from the morass of random weird things that surround them. Of course, it’s not exactly a new idea – icanhascheezburger has been selecting the best lolcats for years – to give one among numerous many examples. In fact any site that collates material with have exercised
But what is making curation a thing now is the emergence of sites that do it automatically for you, usually by plugging into your social networks. And by “you”, I mean *you*, just you. Sites like Paper.li and iPad app Flipboard analyse data from social networks such as what you and your friends post and like and generate suggestions about what other stuff you might like. Where Google selects stuff on the basis of what people in general like, these sites try to work out what you as an individual like.
Often they will rejig it in a more appealing format – something like a magazine style. The comparison with magazines doesn’t stop there.. effectively Paper.li is taking on the job of a conventional magazine editor.
As David Rowan writes in Wired: “And though I’d love to think that, as a professional magazine editor, I know what’s right for you, I’m honest enough to admit that your social network understands your interests better than I do.”
Personally, I’ve given Paper.li a shot and was pretty underwhelmed by the result. It pulled up as a main story something I’d posted – hence had already read and didn’t want to read again, and then some slightly lack-lustre sub-stories on the same topic. Yawn.
Sure the idea makes sense, but when my Twitter friends provide me with more interesting links than I can read in one day, I don’t see myself signing onto something else that just posts me links to Guardian news stories. There, I’ve said it.
Anyway, in the expectation that ReadWriteWeb, Wired and some techie guy at HuffPo know what they’re talking about. Here are 10 great social curation sites. Try them and curate yourself.