The Evolution of Content Curation

Read Some More

Read Some More

Up until a few weeks ago I had a Content Curation methodology I was happy with, then something changed.

Part of successful Blogging is reading a lot, and I mean a lot. I have often got 2 or 3 books on the go. I’m scanning Twitter and Google+ hourly, I subscribed to some key source newsletters, download white-papers and have hundreds of feeds in Google Reader.

As well as Blogging, it’s part of my day job to ensure I am aware of the latest trends online.

A by-product of this media consumption is Content Curation; sifting through the news and sharing what I feel is relevant to the people I spend my time with online. Hopefully, saving them the time and effort of finding the information themselves.

Enter the iPad

The iPad for me is the most fantastic tool when it comes to productivity, in terms of content consumption. Now I can carry every book (Kindle), PDF (Stanza), web site article (Instapaper), idea (Evernote) and RSS feed (various), with me.

Anyone that has used RSS knows how unmanageable it can quickly become if you get behind on reading your feeds. At the same time you have this immense feeling of not wanting to miss anything.

I have used various applications to parse these feeds and a while ago I settled on Flipboard & Zite. Both of these iPad apps can draw in RSS feeds from Google Reader, then present them in a magazine style interface to make for natural reading, an “e-magazine” if you like.

It was great, each morning I would open my “e-magazine” containing only the content I wanted to see. Interesting articles I would then Tweet out as I read. Only one problem; I read quite a lot, and fast. Between 7am and 8am my stream would be a flurry of Tweets. Anyone following me who didn’t follow too many other people would have had their screen filled with messages, yuk, very spammy.

To resolve this issue I would copy and paste the Tweets into HootSuite and schedule them to be sent throughout the day.

This was okay for a while, but a bit labour intensive; even with multi-tasking on the iPad my flow for reading was interrupted and it just didn’t work too well. I put up with it though, as I preferred this to be seen as spamming people online.

Recently a solution to this problem has appeared and changed my behaviour, improving my work flow.

Introducing the Buffer App

You feed Buffer your Tweets and it will automatically schedule them for you throughout the day. You can login to the web based interface and rearrange Tweets or add extra time slots. You can even upgrade to a paid account to allow you to Buffer more Tweets.

The best part for me is that I can email Buffer my Tweets from within which ever application I happen to be reading in at the time on any platform.

This means that on the iPad I am now back to skimming through my RSS feeds far more efficiently. I now use the Reeder App as I can scroll through many more feeds at a time looking for content, and within a couple of clicks email any relevant articles directly to my Buffer.

 The Sin of Automation

Yes this is automation, of a sort. I would argue that it is to the benefit of others, as much as myself. I am still curating the content, ensuring it is something I believe will be of interest, I am just automating when it is sent.

In addition I am also engaging on Twitter in real time throughout the day when time allows.

Using this method everyone wins and gets value from it.

Agree, disagree? I would love to here your views. If you do follow my Tweets, do you find them relevant and have you noticed a difference?

About Sean Clark

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  • Interesting questions, Sean, and a lot of technical information that I’m sure many will find useful. 

    Have to admit I don’t see all your tweets. Hardly surprising since I follow 420 people (despite a recent cull) – and am now only dipping in and out of twitter 3 or 4 times a day (having gone a bit manic on it over the summer – think it’s time to calm down and manage my time more efficiently).

    I do occasionally check in on individual time lines, if I haven’t heard from someone I like in a while – but that’s not a regular habit. I also use lists and hashtag searches to keep up with relevant people and subjects but try not to spend too long trawling through reams of old tweets. However I do subscribe to this blog (one of only a handful) – so I see your main updates including the all important SWOT (Sean’s week on twitter) which I find very useful. 

    I see no problem with automating tweets relating to personal blog posts or articles of interest (so long as you have read them first). Since they are not directed at any one person and are not time specific it doesn’t matter when they go out. (Also, quite like the fact that you consider how your tweets appear in other people’s time lines – had never really thought about that.) So long as your personal tweets are in real time (“Oh look at this beautiful sunset over Sole Bay” lacks verisimilitude at midnight) and your responses are genuine (not some automated holding comment) then I see no reason for anyone to complain about a bit of efficiency.


  • @twitter-118490583:disqus thank you as always for your feedback. I am very pleased you find my weekly round-up useful, I always look forward to putting my SWOT together, it completes the week for me.

    Thanks again

  • This is my preferred method.  I <3 Buffer.  There’s also a great article on other tools for automation by a new friend I made a few days ago.  Check out his blog post here…there were some tools I wasn’t aware of that I think are useful additions to this.  You may or may not find them useful as well:

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing this link. I recommend reading it : not just because it mentions (disc: I’m the CEO) but because it gives an interesting perspective on the question of the right balance between automation, editorial control, etc…

    By the way, I agree scheduling is important and that’s a feature coming on (end of plug ;-))

  • In general I’m pretty loathe to resort to automation, but really, sometimes you just have no choice. We all have lives and daily business to attend to, after all, so automation is an action born out of necessity more than anything. And if we can find easy, relatively inexpensive and personable ways to do so, more power to the process.

  • Agree! Love how you are now allowing great content to randomly find you Sean, rather than searching for it. Buffer App now works for Facebook too

  • Looking forward to Buffer and Scoopit teaming up. Thanks for coming by #EavChat yesterday. Blog post coming and will mention you in my TED talk on this subject in 30 hours

  • @twitter-16655081:disqus thanks for the link, I use some of those tools too. 
    Interesting to see @Triberr:twitter  on there. I am currently trying to promote it’s use here in the UK, people seem sceptical. It does take some trust when joining a tribe, but I have found it invaluable in extending reach and meeting like minded bloggers

  • @gdecugis:disqus looks very interesting, can’t wait to try it out. How does it differ from I ended up ditching as some of the content ended up being way off topic.

  • @twitter-19684844:disqus @gdecugis:disqus Buffer & in a JV? That sounds interesting! Look forward to catching the post.

  • @twitter-19684844:disqus Yes, I saw the Facebook link up the other day, not so much of a Facebook fan myself. Looking forward to a Google+ API, that would be a great Buffer App connection.

  • Agree – Twitter is a messaging platform. Buffering your tweets allows you to expand your reach.  If your links are to your curated pages, updating your curated pages is the same as having fresh and new messages stream on Twitter –  Example – You need a good social media follower management tool to be effective on Twitter –

  • @EmmaofCEM:disqus It’s always a balance, I’m reading this stuff anyway ro I am sharing things from people I would share anyway, Buffer App just provides te distribution. The important thing, always, is to ensure you engage with replies, questions and RT’s too. The ensures you don’t act like a robot and end up just broadcasting, after all it’s about the relationships, that’s why we’re all here. Thanks for taking part.

  • Anonymous

    Actually we built our own scheduling system and haven’t partnered with Buffer yet. Sorry if I was confusing. But we’ll check them out!

  • Anonymous

    That’s exactly the difference: while paper.Li is automated, let’s you choose manually what you want to publish so no off topic problem here (unless you want to…). We use an algorithm too but only to make suggestions (and other users can make suggestions to you as well). But you get to decide what suggestions to trash and which to publish.

    Did you get an invite it? Want one? Guillaume at : don’t hesitate!

  • @gdecugis:disqus Now that sounds good, at the moment I have to prime my curation with feeds, this would supplement that. Would love to try it out, got an email saying I’m on the list but if you could expedite I’d be grateful, will email you. Thanks

  • Pawan Deshpande

    Content curation is still very new and very old – what I mean is that despite having been around for a period of time, it’s still very dynamic when it comes to developments and the different chances one can take and lessons one can learn in relation to it.

    Automation isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you are completely aware of the things you want to share and give – I think it’s about knowing where you stand and what sort of content you are focused on and getting it out there.  Automation (finding & timing) when combined with human interpretation (sharing & organizing) is a powerful combination – and the difference between content curation and content aggregation. 

    Great post!
    Pawan Deshpandegetcurata.comCEO, HiveFire (creators of content curation solution Curata)

  • @f36189d9fe2ca9742251ce0164f94772:disqus The important part being the interpretation; this is where value is added to the curation. Saving others time in their journey of discovery. Thank you for your thoughts.

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