Our Network Creators are always so great about adding tips for others, and I figured it was about time I added my own tip. My tip for you is to consider experimenting with a new content curation web app called Scoop.it.
If you're not familiar with curation, it's kind of what people do on Pinterest. It's all about picking out choice content while you surf the Internet and collecting it in one place for others to enjoy. Some people call this "social bookmarking" but the high-minded term "curation" sure does make you sound smart — so curation it is.
What can Network Creators do with Scoop.it? Here's a few ideas to get you started....
If your site is all about Tea Party politics, your members are no doubt highly tuned to the news they find around the web every day about their most beloved and hated candidates. Use Scoop.it to collect the articles you know will resonate with them. You're probably already an expert or authority on your topic, and this is a good way to be seen as a collector of good content around that topic.
Group curate inspirational stuff
Scoop.it offers a handy bookmarklet that you can use to grab content as you're surfing around in your browser. If you run a knitting or crafting site and have a team of admins or preferred members who like to go out and find inspirational content online, you could all use their bookmarklet to group curate the most inspirational photos or techniques you find in your daily or weekly browsing.
Collect PR that's all about you
If your site is big and successful and talked about online regularly, why not collect all of the mentions of you and your successes? You can put a Scoop.it badge on your site to show the press coverage you're getting.
Save time finding content
What's most handy about this service is that you can plug a ton of Google News searches, custom RSS feeds, and all kinds of other search results into their system, and it will present you with a bevy of results to choose from. Thumb through and click-and-pick the content you want in your feed. If you already use an RSS reader for this purpose, you can upload your OPML file. You're in business as an expert curator!
There are plenty of other uses for this novel new service, and I look forward to hearing how you might use it. I've been using Scoop.it for the past few weeks, and it's pretty handy for my weekly digest of content found on the web. You can check out the badge on the Main Page of Creators if you want to see how it displays content from your Scoop.it feed.
Now Eric I'm about to wow you even more. This also works flawlessly as a standalone page on the mobile site. That just made your idea get even bigger. http://duskspot.com/m?id=3214078:MobilePage:47019 <If you're viewing via computer it's going to look crazy, but just wanted people to see the placement. VIEW FROM MOBILE TO SEE THAT IT WORKS GREAT!
Looks great, Ceddy!
Hey ceddy nice job man! Looks good even on a stand alone page, I would imagine one would be able to increase the height and width of this widget but my question is how did you even get the widget? Im having trouble implementing this on my network. Any help would be great!
nevermind Ceddy! Did some playing around and figured it out, but thanks my man!
@Eric thank you. Since it was an iFrame, I figured it would work on mobile (Works on even my BlackBerry perfect).
@Armani thank you. I was thinking the same thing like "this stands beautiful even by itself".
I agree, Eric, I have been using Scoop.it for about a week and like it a lot. Easy to use and getting good feedback from readers. The next step is to figure out how to feed that content into a Ning community. Would be interested to get comments and suggestions from other members who are using Scoop.it - you can view my Scoop.it feed at http://www.scoop.it/t/atlanta-food-wine
I think they're pretty focused on having folks use the widget since they are kind of a platform themselves. BTW, I met one of the founders here in San Francisco a few weeks back, and I let him know that people on Ning would probably respond to a way to put it all on their Ning community. (I kind of anticipated that people would want that knowing our NCs.)
It's worth noting that they have a paid version that is more white label. So, if that is what people are looking for, keep that in mind. Like most web services, they gotta pay the bills and they do that by offering customization options for cashola.
If I get other ideas about options for embedding it in other ways, I'll let you know. They do offer an RSS feed of all of your scoops, so that is perhaps an additional way.
"Hole Nutha Level" Eric!
Content curation is a key aspect I recommend for evolving from "social network" thinking to "social media environment".
For example, I've got an RSS feed on my Ning Creators profile that represents choice videos I've been collecting on my niche. This is definately not a new idea, but it looks like the features offered in this app help take content curation to a hole nutha level.
I agree that it would be better if you could feed selected content directly into your network. It's a little confusing to go into a distinct application and figure the in's and out's of a different interface. Great to have an embed or even an RSS feed from it, but the value is not the container- its the choice media. You get props for recommending that to your contact because they were all like right there, and you were all like up here already.
There's a dillema in engagement because you have that filter level. It's the same for any content you grab and share on your site. Does the "Like" apply on Youtube, the blog it was embedded on, or the Ning it was shared on? Who gets the action, the SEO benefit, the hits, the responses?
I would consider using it if the feeds went directly to site. I think they could still brand/link it without containerizing it and requiring you to go through it. Too much of a traditional exclusivity model IMO.
There was a company called Bonzobox, if I recall, that tried to do custom web page curation. You would basically get a page with panels screenshotting sites you wanted to share, and the point was you could create a fully personalized navigation. Problem was you had to do it on their site, and for anyone else to see it they also had to sign up. Another interesting curation concept was by a startup called Alpha Inventions, and they had a real time streaming feed to selected blog pages that you could look into when active and actually interface directly through the window without linking through anything.
I think Scoop.It could take it to another level if they combined these kinds of features with their content curation. I would ask for a text box application that gave me some flexibility in setting vertical and horizontal columns, that would hover note expand panels, that you could interface right through/ expand without leaving your page, had sub frame notes you could write and direct to related discussion etc on your site. This could alternatively be done in slider too.
Coincidentally, not sure if I had mentioned this in the Ning Mobile group, but curating activity feed with the same kinds of automation, controls, and selectivity is something that I would want- both on the mobile interface and web views.
Finally, nice sample of articles there. I especially liked the one about writing boring content. Maybe it's time for me to take it to a hole....nutha..... ... level. Great job Eric!
Anthony: Good stuff. Obviously, Scoop.it is a third-party service, and like any third-party service requires a whole 'nother level of understanding from Ning members who may not understand those distinctions, so I can see that it won't be for everyone.
I am always putting forward the idea of a content curation bookmarklet on Ning that in theory an NC might be able to use to curate content they find around the web and have it appear on their Ning Network (or that lets their members curate content and put it on their Ning Network, which is kind of a mind-blowing idea). Sort of the way Delicious and Scoop.it and Pinterest all do but that would be unique for each Ning Network. It's kind of a radical idea that isn't trivial to develop but one that I think could help NCs who aren't content creators themselves and who need a little helper to keep their site interesting (NCs who aren't obsessed with pageviews and SEO and who don't see their network as a walled-in garden but as a gathering place around their area of interest). Creating and running a community is hard, and that kind of system could make it a lot easier. But, it's kind of a pipe dream. For now, I think Scoop.it is something to try for NCs who like to gather outside content to keep their site interesting and an easy way to put up some relevant content.
I am always putting forward the idea of a content curation bookmarklet on Ning that in theory an NC might be able to use to curate content they find around the web and have it appear on their Ning Network (or that lets their members curate content and put it on their Ning Network, which is kind of a mind-blowing idea)
That's a great idea!!
One of our Ning site's most important functions is curation. I do it manually now and post in blogs but a bookmarklet would be mega cool. That said, I do not care for scoop it because it takes traffic off my Ning network, at leaset when I curate on Ning I can reference the material and editorialize which might keep them at our location.
I stumbled across it by accident and I have to say that it has replaced the plan I had for creating an online magazine one day for vintage and antiques subject matter. I can pull info from every single source out there and curate the content I wanted into a magazine like application.