The current buzzword of choice in discussion of social media is curation. While the roots of this word have more to do with museum collections than they do web presences, it’s a fairly apt description of a large series of behaviors seen online, especially with rapidly growing, curation-focused platforms like Pinterest and Tumblr garnering significant media attention.
- The collection and publishing of content created by others
- Using this collection to express an identity, viewpoint, or personal taste as a means of self-expression
- A form of social sharing
Many people are confusing the third bullet point for the entirety of the issue. Sharing comes in many different forms, and curation is only one of them – curated sharing is One-To-Many, and has more in common with publishing, than it does with purely personal pursuits like journaling, or One-To-One sharing such as posting a link on someone’s Facebook timeline.
Curation is important not because it’s a more important form of sharing, but because it’s one of the highest impact / lowest effort versions. There are many influential members of the Tumblr community who only post content created by others, and Pinterest as a platform is based entirely on this dynamic.
How can you best take advantage of curation?
- Be Shareable – The social media cliché remains valuable on this point, as any content you create needs to be relevant, easily shared, and easily linked to before it can be curated. Avoid Flash-based content, and text that can’t be copied
- Think Like A User – A brand that is curating shouldn’t share just products or product information, but instead include content that relates to the inspirations and lifestyle behind the brand and product
- Celebrate Inspiration – A great example of leveraging curation can be seen in this campaign that Kotex conducted on Pinterest, reaching out to women and interacting with them in a way that made sense for the platform
- Don’t Force It – Not every brand is curation-friendly. Ask yourself: does your target enjoy speaking about, or sharing your brand? Is there content, inspiration, or ideas that make sense to share?
While not everyone continues expressing themselves creatively as they age, everyone has a desire to be a creative person. Curation platforms allow people a chance to express themselves in this way, without needing anything beyond time, and their own personal taste