Curating News In The Social Context

A brief introduction and comparison of two interesting tools which help to filter information: Storify and BundlR.

There is a new word in the world of both data and media: Curation. The practice, formerly connected with art and libraries such as in "curating a collection" is now more often used in the context of social media. 
 
For a reason: There is a growing need for tools that help to filter the meaningful from the noise as we can now hear the world speak with services such as Facebook and Twitter. Though there are loads of information out there, finding the really relevant and important hints is currently mostly done by hand.
 
As a result, highly important developments might be missed, one example being the revolutions in Africa and the Middle East. Boiled down, there is the unsolved question of whether we are experiencing information overload or just filter failure, as Clay Shirky has pointed out. 
 
Comparing Storify and BundlR
Two pioneering tools to help doing this are Storify and BundlR. Both are labeled as "curation" platforms, helping to put tweets, posts and comments into a timeline people can actually understand. 
 
Here is a quick comparison of Storify (which has been co-founded by Burt Herman) and BundlR (which has been launched recently):
 
Similarities:
  • BundlR and Storify both allow users to create/narrate stories using other social media services
  • both are determined to create meaning amidst all the media noise
  • they both understand that curating the social web is part of journalists' future of publishing
  • aggregating and curating is the name of the game
  • require SignOns through social media platforms (Twitter/Facebook)
  • both offer a bookmarklet/browser plugins that can be used to add elements to stories/bundles from any web site while browsing
There are also many differences
  • Supported social media platforms
  • to create Bundles: YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, FlickR, Slideshare, Wikipedia, Scribd, Audioboo
  • to create stories with Storify: Twitter, Facebook, FlickR, YouTube, Storify, Google, RSS, own media uploads
  • Community aspect
  • maybe I just didn't see but in BundlR, users currently cannot follow other users - this will probably change once they go public but in Storify, it is a nice way of getting all the updates from users you are interested in
  • Writing notes/being part of your own story
  • in Storify, users can moderate the content - that means they can write notes to everything they include (BundlR will add that feature in the future)
Creating a story using Storify

Storify: New story dashboard
 
 

Current status of BundlR

BundlR is in private beta right now. Quite a few features are still missing, but might be added soon. For example, currently, it is impossible to embed a Bundle into an external website - a feature that is needed once users want to share their stories on their own websites.

 

One quite interesting fact is that Sérgio Santos, founder of BundlR, said that in the future, BundlR considers archiving Bundles (in order to prevent broken links) to become a paid feature due to storage costs. This is just a hint that filtering, curating and storing connected information might find a market in the future. 

 

BundlR


 

Storify


 

Summary

If you don't see a connection between the trend to curate information and cloud computing, think again: Filtering out certain lines of information and discussions will increasingly become important. Never before did we have the chance to "see" a revolution in the making or to "hear" the sentiment in financial markets.

 

The challenge is that this kind of unstructured data (in a technical sense) is hard to understand by machines. But, the two platforms compared are good examples how to approach better filtering and our prediction is that this field will become more important. 

 

Note:

This is an edited, extended version of a post that was first published on Linda Rath-Wiggin's Blog.


Published:
30.05.2011
Author:
Linda Rath-Wiggins
Edited by:
Mirko Lorenz
Short video introducing Storify
Interview with Storify co-founder Burt Herman
How to use Storify


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