I've recently stumbled upon some articles as well as media folks talking about the notion of curating content -- and picking the right content, distributing it across the site, picking the best of the best, the most relevant, the most recent... the best.
I think curating content is critical at times, while at other times, machines are your choice pick. This article will discuss some tips on how to use curation and the machines that do it for you and can offer the best content to your users.
When you run an organization you always want to know you're doing the best you can to differentiate yourself from your competitors, that you're progressing your product in the right direction and that you're pursuing a meaningful market.
By nature, those who try to do a notch too much are risking to end up with nothing. In a similar fashion, curation is a limited resource and should be well used.
When to use content curating:
(1) Massive traffic single pages. There is a middle ground where curators can select a 20+ list of stories and videos they want to promote on single massively trafficked pages such as the homepage, or category pages -- and allow machines to optimize them based on Personalization, GEO location, or just measuring and optimizing based on what actually works. Here is a good place of combining the two, but leading with content Curators.
(2) You're a Hulu look-alike. You can't afford adequate content on your site, but you can afford selecting what comes in. Curate it beginning to end.
(3) You're an HBO look-alike. You want to spend a lot of time browsing through many different options before choosing your next project to create the "Larry David" show. It will be hard for machines to help you here.
(4) There is a meaningful event going on. For instance, a presidential inauguration. It doesn't happen every day, hence you want to take a close look of the content you promote, and the experience you create for your users.
(5) You just have to. Sometimes, there is a need to bias your site traffic because you have a sponsorship or because you have some target to push certain type of content in a certain period. Curate that content and push it across the site.
When and why you shouldn't use "curation" of content:
(1) "Say my name say my name." Curators can't by definition differentiate their selections to users based on their originating GEO location, users' behavior history, etc.
(2) Really hard /non scalable. If you're a business, on the low end, you have several thousands of content items on your site such as videos and articles, and several hundreds of thousands of unique users on your site. If you want to enrich every article with more articles and more videos, people might want to be engaged with it -- but this is really hard to do. The difference between machines to human selected content to machine is in the ~3x (see video).
(3) The fact you can count sand does not mean you should. Content is king. If you focus your editors and curators on making sure your content is distinguished, unique, appealing, and reflecting your brand, you're maximizing your editors' unique capabilities. Leave it to the machine to do the rest, and you're mastering the Pareto Principle rule. 80% of the curation should be focused on the content coming in, and on massive traffic pages, the rest of which is mainly distributing that great content across your pages and to the web -- machines. For instance, when I think of Kevin Rose, and Technology I'm thinking Revision3's Diggnation . This is good curation of content and brand recognition.
In conclusion, content curation is important and needed, and I think that if you're able to combine the power of curation with the power of content distribution, you're maximizing both worlds.
The rest -- might be counting sand.