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How to Choose The Right Curation App
When done right, curation is the closest we’ll get to sit in front of our idols at a cocktail party and, you know, picking their brains. That’s the only missing piece of curation apps in my opinion.
You’ve read your daily roundup of world news first thing in the morning. You constantly follow the interesting links your favorite creator tweets about. Whenever you need help comparing different products, you browse articles and blog posts from trusted sources.
All of us do those things on a daily basis, mostly without realizing and seldom put a label on the reason why we do them. Our perfunctory searching owes its simplicity to one thing: content curation.
Content curation is, thankfully, a part of our hectic routines. We can’t read that article right now, so we bookmark it. We want to extract the focal points from a text and remember them later, so we highlight them. And, despite what many people believe, we don’t do that because we’re lazy — we do that because it’s humanly impossible to take all of the stimuli that come our brain’s way.
Our lives are far too busy for the amount of content that’s available in the world today. Plus, we don’t want to waste our time reading the wrong things from the wrong sources suggested by the wrong people. We always take the path of least resistance. It’s easier on our schedules, and it’s also easier on our brains.
Whenever we get the chance to make things easier, we will. Even content curation, which is meant to streamline our information-seeking process, can be simplified even further.
We’re in 2022. Whatever we think of, there’s an app for it — and content curation is no exception. If you’re hungry for saving time, learning, and sharing your findings with similar people, read on.
What is Content Curation? And How Does It Benefit Creators and Readers Alike?
Content curation is the art of wringing out the most useful pieces of information from a source. It involves the smart selection, categorization, and reflection on the most relevant data on a certain topic.
Okay. So, why does that matter for creators?
Great creators work hard to have their content recognized. They don’t want anyone to merely glaze their eyes over what they’ve formulated, researched, built on, and published. Instead, they want people to connect with it and take something meaningful from it. They’re well aware that humans — at least ordinary ones — aren’t able to absorb every last word from a piece.
That’s when curators, being the knowledge-gobbling professionals that they are, do the extracting part of the job.
Now, why does that matter to readers?
After a piece of content, especially a large one, has gone down the curation filter, readers will have instant access to the worthy bits through a professional lens. Although they can (and should!) further look for interesting parts and make their own connections, the readers’ job becomes a lot easier.
The ideal process should go like this:
Creation — Curation — Consumption.
Why Has Curation Become Popular to the Point of App Creation?
There always have been professionals with enough qualifications to say what’s worth people’s attention and what isn’t, based on education and expertise. If a subject-matter expert, particularly a well-known one, says something is significant to a particular field, going the opposite direction would mean wasting one’s time and resources. Nobody wants that.
(Of course, there are exceptions. No one should take any affirmation as absolute truth, unless they choose to.)
For the sake of this article, we’re talking about curation in the digital era and why it has become so popular as a digital marketing strategy. Here’s why:
The curation of digital content is interesting for anyone who wants to establish a strong online presence and become an authoritative source in their field. Not only that, but it’s also interesting for people who wish to generate engagement on their social pages. After all, great content gets people talking and sharing.
As an example, if Brian Dean from Backlinko drops a few links on his SEO newsletter, SEO professionals will scramble to see what that’s about. If he leaves his point of view, that’s even better: now, readers have a pro’s opinion tied to an already helpful piece of content.
Why do we know it’s helpful? Because Brian Dean said so.
See now why more and more people want to become content curators in the digital era? Because they want to become known as authorities in their field.
As for readers, they want to get the best information directly from the best sources.
That’s the purpose with which curation apps were created: to bring those people together in a single knowledge-centered platform.
But what is a curation app, and what does it do, exactly?
The right curation app should:
Organize what they curate for the future themselves as a reference, citation, or any use.
Help others discover, learn, and make sense of something they are not familiar with. We’re learners, and not knowing shapes the way.
Share what they learn/curate and the context effortlessly through the social aspect.
In a perfect world, every single curation app would be ideal. Yet, that’s not the case with any app — or any professional, for that matter.
If there’s one thing people should value in a curation app, that’s the social aspect of it. Here’s what I mean by that.
The Ideal App Has Something Else: The Social Aspect
In the 1999 film American Beauty, one of the characters, Carolyn, gets to sit next to a man who’s known as “the King of real estate” at a cocktail party. Being a real estate agent herself, she’s in awe of his presence. She looks him dead in the eye, and says: “You know, I’d love to sit down with you and just pick your brain.”
Do you know how valuable it can be to just pick someone’s brain? Imagine yourself facing an expert in your area. If you had a few minutes to chat with them, what would you ask them?
When done right, curation is the closest we’ll get to sit in front of our idols at a cocktail party and, you know, picking their brains. That’s the only missing piece of curation apps in my opinion: the social aspect, or the democratization of access to other people’s learning process. A collective learning process brings multiple perspectives into the game and deepens the understanding on a topic, filling gaps we wouldn’t be able to fill by ourselves.
Making other people’s comments and highlights available for all users to see is an awesome way of allowing the social aspect to take place. Just like we did when building Glasp.
This way, we were able to extract the best of content curation by providing open access to the processes of others. That was a game-changer for us.
How Does the Social Aspect Boost the Curation Process?
The social aspect can boost curation by:
Allowing users to have direct access to other people’s processes.
Encouraging users to connect and share different ideas on the same piece.
Being a platform where students and professionals can meet inspiring people with a zest for learning.
You may have already used a Web Highlighter or Web Clipper. We have, as well, and we like so many of them (LINER, Readwise, and Matter are just a few examples). That’s why we’ve decided to create Glasp: to zoom in on the social aspect of existing curation. Hence, we’ve called it a Social Web Highlighter.
Because it’s a social highlighting and note-taking platform, all highlights matter to all users. The content anyone marks or builds on is what shapes our community. Just like the content I’ve highlighted below:
Anyone can see and learn from those highlights. If someone wants to learn the gist of Curator Economy in a snappy read, they’d find the above excerpts very helpful. Not just because they pertain to the realm of content curation, but because they were highlighted by me, Kazuki, Cofounder of Glasp, as well as a curator economy researcher and contributor.
Honestly, we could’ve stopped there. A lot of apps do, because looking at the highlights from other people is helpful enough as it is. However, if there are a couple of extra things that allow us to pick someone’s brain, these are notes and comments.
Here’s an example from Kei’s profile.
See that one note he left there? That’s gold for other product managers. Those tiny yet mighty observations involving first-hand experiences will enrich the learning process. Knowing about challenges like-minded people face and getting their unique view on something allows others to fast-forward their own steps. This, in turn, optimizes problem-solving.
After all, the less white noise you come across and the more you learn from other people, the faster you’ll arrive at your aha moment.
Another interesting thing about apps like Glasp is the structure of the social profiles:
Just like in any social media page, you can see my following and follower counts right there. Also, plugged right next to my profile picture are all of my social handles and a little description of what I like to learn about.
Let’s say that someone has benefitted from a certain note I’ve left on one of my highlighted passages. If they’d like to learn more about me or any other user, they could simply visit their page and get to know more about their work. And, if they’d like, they could even start following them on social media.
This is insanely helpful for people who want to find better ways to network. And of course, better people to network with.
Or, if they’d like to keep their social curation endeavors to a single platform, they could find related and relevant highlighted content from the same author. Whatever an author has been reading, they’re leaving a trace so you can follow in their steps. See exactly what they’ve found particularly interesting, while they knit that to their personal experiences.
The takeaway is: social curation prompts significant connections, while facilitating the learning process. It fills gaps you couldn’t fill with regular search — and even if you could, it would take you double the time.
Speaking of takeaways, you can also look at people’s key points before reading an article. This is useful if you’re pressed for time and want the gist before deciding to dive in.
Importantly, Quality Curation Requires Expertise
I’d encourage people to highlight and leave notes on topics they’re experts at, or that they’re genuinely seeking to learn more about.
Because here’s the thing: no one needs a diploma or a permit to highlight and write things on the web or even create content. The web is a public space, and that’s great for everyone involved. Now, more than ever, internet access allows people greater access to information. This is amazing. Still, you know how it goes — depending on who gets their hands on that information, the result can be substandard.
When studying, you’ll want to focus on the people who you know will bring you the best information sources and complement them with their expertise.
We have several experts on Glasp, ranging from designers to founders to product managers to professionals and students of all areas. Since we’ve got so many people joining us, we’ve made it easy for you to find your tribe right away.
You may not be an expert. Yet. But once you start following the right people and studying the legacy they’re leaving, you’ll be well on your way.
Not two people are the same. Each one of us has our own experiences and context to share. The more people you learn from, the more gaps you’ll fill, and the faster you’ll reach the enlightenment you seek.
See you next time,