Here are my slides and curated resources materials for a talk called “What Can Nonprofits Learn from Robin Good, the Best Content Curator on the Planet?” that I will be presenting at the Social Media for Nonprofits. This area, content curation, is a social media competency that I’m focusing in my own learning and teaching. One of the best ways to learn is the study, observe, or interview the experts. That’s why I invited Robin Good to skype into my session.
Last week, in preparation for this talk, I had a skype call with Robin Good, one of the best content curators on the planet. He will join me via skype from Italy for an interview and discussion. I recorded the above skype interview as a technology back up – it is filled with great advice and worth listening to for 14 minutes. (If you’re short on time, I have a transcript linked to resources here)
The session will begin with a simple primer about content curation, the benefits, and a few examples of nonprofit content curators and their tools. Then, if all works well, I will bring in Robin for a discussion. If not, we’ll roll the video. Either way, you’ll learn a lot!
What is Content Curation?
Content curation is the organizing, filtering and making sense of information on the web and sharing the very best content with your network. If you think about what a museum curator does, it is very similar. The museum curator does research, is an expert in the artistic style, selects the best examples, puts them together in an exhibit, provides important context with the annotation on the labels, and so on. Not too long ago content curators used to be called journalists!
I like the metaphor of a sommelier, They know the grapes, the winemaker and their techniques, and vintages. They taste many wines to find the best of the best to match with the food in the restaurant. They can answer questions about the wine to help diners navigate a wine list to make the best choice. The content curator does this as well, although with information.
One reason content curation is becoming more and more appreciated because of the huge amount of information available on the web. There’s some much of it that it is now measured in exabytes which is equal to a quintillion bytes. The creation and sharing of content on social media and social networks is contributing to this information overload. The average user on Facebook shares/creates 90 pieces of content a month. With over 800 million global users on Facebook, if you do the math – that’s a lot of information!
We can’t blame it all on the amount of information. The problem is our information consumption — we’re indulging too much at the buffet called the web. We need to go on an information diet. And guest what? Mindful consumption of information is at the heart of content curation practice.
Benefits for Nonprofits
There are benefits for both nonprofit organizations and the people who work for them.
- Improve staff expertise: It used to be that we could be trained to do our work and we wouldn’t need to update and synthesize new information on a daily basis. That’s less true. One 21 century work place literacy is sense-making of information together and alone.
- Improve Thought Leadership: If your organization is curating content on a particular topic, it can help with branding your organization as thought leaders in the space.
- Content curation forms the base of your content strategy pyramid. It’s about curation, creativity, and coordination across channels. Your content strategy is essential to the success of an integrated social media strategy.
- Content curation can help increase the shelf-life of your content – it gives it an extra half life.
A Simple Method For Getting Started
I’m a huge fan of Harold Jarche’s “Seek, Sense, Share” model. I’ve written a lot about how nonprofits without a lot of time or money might apply this easily to content curation to get started.
A Few Good Starter Tools
Robin suggests that you need two sets of tools: discovery and curation tools. The discovery tools help you discover the best stuff through the use of RSS feeds and persistent search. (You also have to know your sources!). The second set, curation tools, help you organize and present your collection. Robin has tested hundreds of tools – from free to enterprise level. He kindly put together two mind maps with links to tools that are free and easy to get started with. You”ll find them linked here.
I will ask Robin some questions about his practice as an expert content curation to see what we can learn. Here’s two resources I put together. One is a collection of selected articles, slide decks, and interviews with Robin Good. The other is a collection of content curation for nonprofit resources that I have to used to develop workshops and trainings.
Is your nonprofit doing content curation? Let me know in the comments.