Storify is one of the easiest content curation sites around. (@jadebutcher_)
Storify is one of the easiest content curation sites around. (@jadebutcher_)

Content Curation is a term that describes the act of finding, grouping, organising or sharing the best and most relevant content on a specific issue. Curation does not focus on adding more content to the current information overload on social media, but instead helps an audience to focus on and make sense of the most important information out there. A curator can be either an individual or an organisation and they use their skills to create new meaning by combining content and context to make sense of information and in 2011, Bhargava outlined five models of curation, as explained here:

Aggregation- is the act of curating the most relevant information about a specific topic in one location.

Distillation- is the act of curating information into a simple format where only the most important and relevant ideas are shared.

Elevation- refers to the curation with the aim to identify the larger trends or insights from smaller daily posts that are published online.

Mashup- this form of curation uses juxtapositioning, merging existing content in order to create a point of view.

Chronology- curation of this form allows a curator to bring together historical information together with recent information in an organised way to reflect the evolving understanding of a particular topic.

As a curator myself, I used Storify to gather, annotate and recirculate content into my own article. I was mainly used content found on Twitter and Facebook, with the backup of online news articles and videos from YouTube to add further context.

In my first article “How did UK MP’s react to the #SyriaVote” I used aggregation curation to source the most relevant information about the specific topic into one article. With so many different political opinions, controversy, protesting and views surrounding the topic, I found it increasingly difficult to decipher the relevant information from the bias opinions over social media. I found that looking at the updates of MP’s and leaders was not enough when trying to convey a point, I had to undertake more research into the background and context of the debate, how much it would cost, how it would affect both us and Syria and which MP’s voted for and against the decision before even looking at the social media that I wanted to include. I found that when using aggregation curation, it is important to form an impartial opinion before choosing content to include. This also helped me to gain a deeper understanding of the debate and the issues surrounding the vote, which in turn changed my opinion altogether. By forming an impartial view of the issue, my content was more equally represented, with both sides of the argument fairly reported within. Aggregation curation also battles the notion of homophily as it gives a range of impartial views and opinions, this restricts the reader from associating with views that are only similar to their own.

When collecting information for my second article “Has the force really awoken?” I used elevation curation. In my article, I intended to portray the way in which the media can cause frenzy around a certain event, using the Star Wars premieres as an example. My compilation of news stories, YouTube videos, tweets and Facebook updates showed the whole world going wild for the film, but also the lack of variety when it came to the information shared. Elevation curation proved that it is the deeper analysis of social media updates that help to prove the point. I found myself looking at articles that had used aggregation curation for more inspiration and information that showed the real obscurities of the Star Wars mania, which in turn allowed me to find more detailed and unusual information sources to use in other articles. Twitter and hashtagging was of great importance to me in this article, as I was easily able to find masses of information about one topic through one trend. This also helped me to identify which parts of the event were the most popular on Twitter, again helping me to focus my content on those topics with the biggest media frenzy surrounding them

In my other two stories, “No way Jose! Mourinho sacked by Chelsea” and “News infinity and beyond! Astro-Tim makes the ISS”, I again used aggregation curation. In the former, I bought together the opinions and thoughts of many sources to give an impartial depiction of the decision as well as lengthier, analytical reactions which included important facts for context. Because I curated the article a day after the decision was made, the volume of content that I searched through was huge. I used hashtags on Twitter, advanced searches on Google, specific page searches on Facebook and other Storify stories to filter the topical information from the useless. I used Kelly’s adaptation of Jarche’s Network Learning Model ‘Seek, Sense, Share’ to find only the most relevant content: Seek- I filtered the relevant content, Sense- I made sense of the information by including longer articles for appropriate context, Share- I used social media to deliver my view to others. This model helped me to streamline my content search into the very simplest form, which in turn, helped me to save time and effort when looking for valuable content to include.

The volume of digital information is expanding daily, and with more news, content, updates and stories being added every second, it can be difficult to filter the important information through the noise. Curation showed me that it is easy to find relevant content, add your own spin and then share it with others to help them understand it too. This streamlining helps readers and journalists turn stories with too much information, into stories with only vital information quickly and easily- a great tool in this digital age.