Top 5 Content Curation Tools
Mashup of List.ly, Scoop.It, Paper.li created with PicStitch on an iPad
Still, content curation empowers those who are overwhelmed by the slew of data, information, opinions and ideas. While it would be nice to be a "generalist" or "know-it-all" in regards to all the neat stuff streaming into your eyes, ears, the truth is, you can easily gag on the softest data or suffer death by a thousand cuts, the cacophany of uncurated content crashing your mind's pad. How do I know? Well, I have a confession--I occasionally get despondent pondering the limitless depths of content coming at me via my GoogleReader, Twitter, Facebook, Plurk and Google+. Even though I have shut the door on Plurk and Google+ except when I'm bored stiff, the outpouring from the remaining faucets is enough to turn my mind into the equivalent of the scene in the matrix where humans stare incomprehensibly at a wall of green characters, constantly changing.
As I reflected on what tools people use for content curation, including myself, I decided to make a list. It doesn't pretend to be THE top 5 of content curation tools, only a list of tools I've noted in my woebegone wandering.
Update: Read content curation on an iPad
#1 - EverNote - http://www.evernote.com
If you haven't spent time with EverNote, then you are certainly missing out. This is the most fantastical wonderful tool to use, no matter what device you decide to use. I have occasion to access Evernote for everything from personal to work content, automagically sharing curated content (yes, I have a notebook category for curation) on a wide variety of topics such as BYOD, iPads, iPadApps, Infographics, my favorite images, and more. Each notebook has its own shared URL that doubles as an RSS feed fed through Dlvr.it which is auto-posted to my Twitter and Facebook feeds. Simply, EverNote makes organizing audio, text, still images easy no matter the device, and a straightforward matter to share with the world. And, I'm able to grab content from just about anywhere, including Zite, Flipbooks, web pages, Facebook, Twitter, wherever, whenever. Cost? Free.
#2 - Pinterest - http://www.pinterest.com
To be blunt, I haven't spent a lot of time with Pinterest except to study the beautiful creations of other educators on Twitter have created. It's clear to me that Pinterest is a tool i could easily fall in love with. It is content curation at its most graphical.
#3 - Diigo - http://www.diigo.com
Every year, Diigo gets better and better. Although I eschewed social bookmarking years ago, instead switching to Evernote because it facilitated clipping content from a wide variety of sources and, at the time, Diigo was still figuring out its pricing model for educators (which is quite nice these days), Diigo remains for some the ultimate tool for curating and sharing content.
#4 - List.ly - http://list.ly
I didn't know about List.ly until recently, when Lisa Johnson (@techchef4u) was kind enough to introduce it to me during a workshop she facilitated on the use of iPads in the Classroom. It is a pretty impressive resource, enabling team curation around a list of items--such as nproductivit tools for iPads--and has some neat sharing features (e.g. Twitter, Facebook connections). The only feature it appears to lack--and maybe I haven't seen it so feel free to correct me--is an RSS feed so you can drop a list.ly into a mega-RSS feed of some sort. Of course, List.ly does allow you to embed the list of content (such as via an iFrame in a GoogleSites wiki) so that's great.
#5 - Scoop.it - http://www.scoop.it
If you haven't been on the receiving end of a Scoop.it twitter post, then you must not be following the right people. At first, I hated the ubiquity of Scoop.its being unleashed on the Twittersphere, but I've grown to appreciate how much content is actually being shared in just one or two "scoops." Although I haven't played around with Scoop.it myself--after all, isn't that what I'm using Evernote and my Around the Corner Blog for?--it does seem a powerful tool. Another related tool is Paper.li, which was the first content curation and sharing tool I had the opportunity to see.
Finally, I like these tools because they enable you to easily organize, re-arrange, invite others to share content with others via various social media tools. I encourage you to explore these tools in more detail on your own. While I don't pretend to be an expert on content curation--I'm not a librarian, after all--I do hope that an awareness of these tools will help alleviate some of the anxiety folks have with the mass of data flowing their way.
Addendum: In re-reading this blog post, I realize I probably should have spent more time reflecting on whether content curation tools are accessible across multiple devices. That's a question that's bothering me as I write this short addendum, wondering if Scoop.it, Paper.li, List.ly are computer-based, unlike Evernote and Diigo which have mobile equivalents. In the meantime...have fun exploring!