Social Curation is Not Aggregation

Social Curation is the big new buzzword this year in social media circles — collecting information in a strategic amassing of selected information that’s presented in a new way to draw out the subtleties and patterns that might not otherwise be noticed when looking at the group in toto.

Curation is an art form into itself. While it’s not as pure and noble as content creation, it’s more than aggregation. Much more.

Beer can collection

Are you a curator or an aggregator?

Aggregation is an amassing of content. Just like little kids who collect rocks, grabbing at every rock and pebble they can find, aggregators find any and all pieces of content that relate to their chosen subject.

But a good curator, like a good collector, will focus on a specific niche or seek out that subtle pattern that can only be discovered when the pieces are assembled.

A real collector might only want books about women aviators written by women. An aggregator will get books about airplanes.

A real collector will only collect Merlots that were bottled in 2008. An aggregator will gather Merlots of any kind, or even just “reds.”

A real collector will only collect old Underwood typewriters made during the 1930s. An aggregator will amass as many typewriters as they can cram into their basement.

So how do you content curators compile your own collection? What’s your process? Do you rely on Google’s algorithm and to tell you what’s popular and trending? What kinds of special tools are you using? Do you compile a list of the individuals whose values and behavior you’re comfortable with providing you with a lens into a specific area?

I’m not a big fan of and other so-called “curation” sites, because they’re less about curation and more about gobbling up and spitting out mass quantities of information. Everyone who was mentioned in the creator’s Paper gets tweeted so they’ll come and visit the page to find their lone tweet. It’s just this much shy of spamming as a way to build page traffic for

This is why I like my colleague Chad Richards‘ posts so much. He looks at just a few articles per week or day, and shares them with our readers on the Firebelly blog.

He’s more interested in small collections that I can easily digest, a curated magazine of sorts, rather than a fire hose of information that will drown me in the first two minutes. That’s the kind of information I like to receive, and he is one person I absolutely trust to provide me with the information I need to know.

That is real curation. Finding the nuggets, the little bits of gold amid all the silt and dirt, and sparing me the worthless pebbles.

Today, I’m at the Social Curation Summit in New York, speaking on a panel of smart people, talking to a room about smart people, about the art of curation. I’d love to hear from you. What is your process? Who do you listen to, and where do you get your information? Leave a comment and let me hear from you.

Photo credit: Chuck_Heston (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Instagram Marketing: 5 Must-Reads

Here are your 5 must-reads on Instagram marketing that we don’t want you to miss.

Instagram marketing

The Rise of Instagram in Social Marketing: Tapping Into Consumer Creativity
By Andy Parker In just the past few weeks, there has been an explosion of brands jumping on the Instagram bandwagon. Track Social has been following brands’ use of Instagram on Facebook through it’s searchable database of active Facebook apps and we have seen a continuous stream of new Instagram initiatives.

5 Awesome Examples of Instagram Marketing From Real Brands
By Lauren Sorenson Mobile photo sharing is now a part of our future and is one of the fastest growing social media trends of the last few years. Big brands are starting to take notice, using the trend to their advantage.

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3 Marketing Lessons Learned From Facebook’s Acquisition of Instagram
By Matthew Siegel Facebook just spent $1 billion on a company with no business model — just the proven capability to engage consumers while they create. Marketers should take a cue from Facebook’s move and apply the following tips.

5 Creative Ways to Use Instagram for Marketing
By Jessica McLaughlin Storytelling is one of the most effective ways for a brand to connect with its target audience, and Instagram is one of the most popular ways to tell that story through pictures. But how do you stand out from the pack?

4 Ways B2B Marketers Can Take Advantage of Instagram
By Jesse Noyes B2B companies haven’t taken to those fuzzy Instagram filters like their B2C counterparts. That’s too bad. The truth is Instagram offers a number of effective b2b marketing tactics your brand should be taking advantage of – from raising awareness to engaging prospects and leads. Here we outline 4 ways B2B marketers can use Instagram.

Facebook Offers: 5 Must-Reads

Here are 5 must-reads on Facebook Offers that we don’t want you to miss.

Facebook Offers

Facebook’s “Offers” News Feed Coupons Launch In Self-Serve Beta For Local U.S. Businesses
By Josh Constine Today any local U.S. business can start using Facebook’s Offers product – free-to-create coupons that businesses can share to the news feed, and that users can bring to brick-and-mortar stores for redemptions.

Facebook launches Offers: Coupons in your News Feed

By Emil Protalinski As expected, Facebook has launched its new Offers service, just eight months after killing Facebook Deals. More information is available at, but it should be noted this is a gradual rollout, as always.

How to Launch Facebook Offers in Minutes
By James Meyer One of the most powerful features you can use to promote your business is Facebook Offers. That’s the good news. The even better news is that it takes just minutes to create an offer. Here we will go step by step from idea to redemption.

Facebook Offers: Yet Another Social Deals Attempt
By Mark Hachman Facebook Deals died last year. So, uh, long live Facebook Offers? Facebook Offers is based on users “liking” the Facebook page owned by a business. If they do, Offers allows the business to send the customer/fan a special deal, such as a discount on a cup of coffee.

Facebook May Have Finally Nailed Local Offers
By Mikal E. Belicove Helping local businesses with a presence on Facebook identify, engage and increase repeat purchases from customers through a frictionless loyalty and direct marketing solution that integrates with Offers would be a genius move.

The ROI of Pinterest: 5 Must-Reads

Here are 5 must-reads on the ROI of Pinterest that we don’t want you to miss.

ROI of Pinterest

What’s the ROI of Pinterest?
By Geoff Livingston Well known social media experts like to slough off tough questions about return on investment (ROI) with flip phrases like, “What’s the ROI of your mom?” Now it’s time to turn the tables and ask social media experts, “What’s the ROI of Pinterest?”

Why Big Consumer Brands Have Yet to Tap Pinterest’s Potential

By Lauren Drell There’s a very captive and engaged audience on Pinterest — but why, then, aren’t you seeing some of your favorite big brands on the site? We spoke to a handful of media agencies — the people who help brands develop their marketing strategies — about why Pinterest isn’t catching on with big consumer brands despite its status as a runaway success for smaller brands.

Pinterest: Why It’s Worth The Investment, And How To Get Your ROI
By Dharol Tankersley Pinterest may cause you to groan and look for excuses to opt out of maintaining yet another communication channel. Unfortunately Pinterest is increasingly looking like a medium marketers shouldn’t ignore; fortunately, it also looks like a medium that delivers significant ROI, and might not require the level of investment required by Facebook or a blog.

Assigning Pinterest Value
Olin Graczyk Pinterest no longer needs an explanation. You’re probably getting attacked from every angle with content, success stories, best practices, and how-to articles for getting your brands on Pinterest. You’re not going to get that here. What you will get, is some outside-the-box thinking for assigning value to your Pinterest endeavor.

Pinning Email to Pinterest for Faster ROI
By Deb McAlister-Holland Once you’ve determined that Pinterest is for you and your brand, follow the social media best practices you’ve learned in other media. Be relevant, be active, be social. Then start pinning email to Pinterest for faster ROI, by linking your email marketing campaigns to your Pinterest usage. Here are the five most productive ways to increase social media ROI by linking the two.

Social Media + Earth Day: 5 Must-Reads

Yesterday was Earth Day, but the information and recommendations shared in some of these 5 must-reads can help you be “greener” every day of the year.

social media earth day

How To Mobilize Social Media To Do Nice Things For Earth
By Drew Bowling Recyclebank had the great idea that people could use this medium as way to educate and share information about some fairly simple habits that would make big impacts on our dear old planet Earth. To highlight some of the ways, they put together an infographic that details how you people could use different social media in order to effect those changes.

9 Digital Ways to Make a Difference This Earth Day
By Matt Petronzio Don’t fret — there’s plenty you can do to make a real difference, even if it’s only from your computer or mobile device. Check out the following ways you can use digital channels to get involved this year.

12 Green Apps for Earth Day
Chandra Steele “Mobilize the Earth” is the theme of this year’s Earth Day. It seems fitting, then, that we leverage the popularity of mobile phones to help further the cause of conserving planetary resources. Download one of these 12 apps each month and you can help keep the planet green all year long.

Earth Day 2012: The Funniest Tweets (SLIDESHOW)
By Huffington Post Just because climate change is real and we could all be doing a better job as stewards of the planet, that doesn’t mean a few well-humored tweets aren’t also in order on this auspicious occasion. After all, nothing matters anymore until it’s created a full-on Twitter snarkfest, right?

Earth Day 2012 Infographic: The Internet Is Killing The Planet
By Megan Marrs There is an anti-green culprit lurking among us – the internet! Our greatest friend and foe. That’s why we created the Earth Day 2012 Infographic to illustrate the negative impact our internet usage has on our beloved planet Earth. But there’s an upside! The Internet has some positive effects on the planet too. Read on to find out what they are.

How To Transform A Facebook Account Into A Pinterest Pinboard

Love Facebook? Love Pinterest? Want to combine your love for the two and make Facebook look like Pinterest? Now you can! The Pinview Facebook app reformats your Facebook account – making it look like a Pinterest pinboard.


It’s a really cool way to experience Facebook. You can select to view the News Feed, your own Facebook profile Wall, only photos or only videos in pinboard format. Check it out:

pinview example

Happy pinning/posting!

5 April Fools’ Day & Social Media Must-Reads

Here are 5 must-reads on April Fools’ Day and social media that we don’t want you to miss.

april fools day social media

The Internet Has Killed April Fools’
By Alexia Tsotsis The Internet has killed April Fools’. Back in the day you used to be able to tell your friends you were engaged, pregnant or had Cancer without them gushing all over your Facebook page or Twitter and immediately freaking out people who you didn’t want to prank, like your family.

Roundup: April Fool’s Day Jokes From Around The Web

By Francis Bea It’s April Fools Day, and tech companies this year are out in full force to put a smile on your face. If you’re wondering where to go and get fooled online this year, look no further than some of the April Fools Day jokes that we’ve discovered.

April Fools’ Day Classics: Top 10 Viral Pranks on YouTube
By Christine Erickson People love a good trolling, whether it’s online or not, and there’s nothing like a company having a bit of harmless fun at the expense of a few thousand customers. Whether it’s a gag product or a fake movie trailer, when an April Fools’ Day prank video is convincing enough, it has the potential to go viral on YouTube.

Flickr’s April Fool’s Joke Gives Us A Whole New Appreciation for Megapixels
Nancy Messieh Not to be outdone by Google and its ten April Fools jokes, Flickr has thrown its hat into the figurative ring, with its own April Fools joke for this year.

Facebook + Twitter + Klout + Pinterest = No-Strings-Attached Dates? April Fool’s!
By David Cohen PinPal is an online dating site that collects users’ information from Facebook, Twitter, and Klout, and then brings it into Pinterest and uses a “secret algorithm” to match up “like-minded Pinterest users” for “no-strings attached dates.” PinPal is also one hell of an elaborate April Fool’s joke.

Facebook + Instagram: 5 Must-Reads

Facebook recently purchased Instagram for $1 billion. Here are 5 must-reads on the topic.

facebook instagram

3 Marketing Lessons From Facebook’s Instagram Acquisition
By Matthew Siegel Pages upon pages of commentary have been written about Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, the astronomical valuation applied to the deal, and the competitive impetus for the transaction. But what’s most interesting is what it implies about Facebook’s perspective on content creation versus content distribution.

Why Facebook Bought Instagram: IPO Buyers And Apple
By Tomio Geron Instagram will add chops on Facebook’s mobile product side, boost Facebook’s photo sharing and give Facebook’s audience on mobile more to look forward to. In addition to that, and maybe just as importantly, the acquisition helps Facebook’s IPO.

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out
By Paul Ford For many Instagram users it’s discomfiting to see a giant company they distrust purchase a tiny company they adore — like if Coldplay acquired Dirty Projectors, or a Gang of Four reunion was sponsored by Foxconn. So what’s going on here?

Facebook Plays Offense and Defense in a Single Deal
By Somini Sengupta and Nick Bilton Facebook’s purchase of Instagram was an effort to push into a new area before its rivals. As YouTube and PayPal did for Google and eBay, Instagram offers something that Facebook desperately needs — a whole new audience that uses technology in a totally different way.

When Did Facebook Become So Uncool?
By John D. Sutter Facebook and Instagram’s images couldn’t be more different, so it’s tempting to say that this Goliath-buys-David event is a turning point for Facebook. But people have been writing about Facebook losing its mojo for years now.

Social Media ROI: 5 Must-Reads

Here are 5 must-reads on social media ROI that we don’t want you to miss.

social media roi

5 Social Media Metrics That Matter Now
By Debra Donston-Miller As businesses get more sophisticated in their use of social networking, so too are the metrics by which they measure social business ROI.

Measure Social Media ROI with Google Analytics Social
By Shelly Kramer Measuring social media ROI is understandably the holy grail for marketers. And with Google’s recent launch of Social Reports, tracking social media ROI just got a little easier.

ROI: Are Your Social Media Efforts Worth the Money?
By Radian6 Knowing how to calculate social media ROI is not always obvious, but this infographic will help you figure out how to take your social media metrics and turn them into valuable information for your business.

The 5 Big Lies Of Social Media ROI
Jesse Stanchak Don’t blame social media for what are essentially business problems. The confusion over social media ROI happens when we design faulty campaigns, ask the wrong questions and obsess over meaningless data points.

101 Examples of Social Business ROI
By Peter Kim Here are 101 examples of social business return on investment, roughly 60% revenue generation and 40% cost reduction. Each example lists brand, activity, and source + year.

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