Let’s say your team has just launched a new product at some conference and they have asked you to collate all the conversations and buzz happening around that product on various websites, blogs and social sites. You have to act fast because the stuff that gets shared on the real-time web often gets buried almost as quickly.
So how should you go about collecting stuff around the Internet? Should you just save everything that’s being said to your browser bookmarks? Or maybe put all the web clippings in an Excel sheet as that would be easy to share? Or how about capturing screenshot images of the chatter?
There are umpteen ways to do this but what you should really look at is a dedicated content curation tool that is designed to capture web content with minimal effort.
Don’t Bookmark, Curate Online Content
A content curation tool, in simple English, lets you easily pull videos, images, presentations, tweets, blog posts and other web content into a collection which you can then embed, publish or share online. I have been testing a few online curation tools and here’s a quick review of them all to help you pick the right one for your needs.
The way these content curation tools work is quite similar to Evernote’s web clipper. You install an add-on for your browser, or a bookmarklet, and then clip content with a click.
The first tool that I tested is Bundlr available at gobundlr.com. Bundlr can automatically recognize content on YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare, Twitter and a couple of other sites. Alternatively, you may select an image or a text snippet on a page and add it to your bundle. The bundle may then be embedded in another page or you can publish it as a standalone page.
Bundlr makes clipping pages really simple, especially when you are collecting individual tweets, but I wish it supported more services and the overall layout of the bundle doesn’t look all that nice (see example).
Next in the list is curated.by – it offers a Chrome extension that adds a “Curate” button next to every single tweet on twitter.com and you can thus save any of them to your bundle with a simple click – no pop-ups needed. Curated.by can also be used for curating media content from around the web in the same bundle (see example).
Then you’ve everyone’s favorite curation service called Storify. You can add items to your Storify collection in two ways – there’s the bookmarklet to curate content from any public webpage and then you also have an integrated search where you can add items by simple drag and dropping. For instance, you may search public updates on Facebook or Twitter and drag any of them to your collection without leaving the Storify website. This works with Google search results and RSS feeds as well.
You may also want to check out the new version of delicious service for curation. They have added “Stacks” which are like a collection of bookmarks but the difference is that stacks can display media content inline without you having to click the bookmark. For instance, if you bookmark a Flickr page, the corresponding picture will included in the stack page automatically and the same is true for YouTube videos or Slideshare presentations.
Unlike any other curation tool, Delicious stacks include a thumbnail feature so if you bookmark a web page, the thumbnail image of that page will automatically get included in the media view (see example). I will however give maximum points to Storify because, other than presenting your curated stories inside a clean and beautiful layout, Storify also lets you easily publish them to other sites.