Curation Automation Infatuation

Figured it was time.

Grab a tool.. don’t be one.

Erica Allison wrote that about getting value out your social media time, measuring results; I agree.

Danny Brown says that tweets and content are shared for a lot of reasons. We share content because we think others might benefit, or sometimes to help or support a friend, sometimes just because WE like something and want to share it. Damn. So not everyone I follow is sharing everything just for my benefit? Sad but true Facepalm! moment. (Hat tip sir.) He also says it’s the person, not the tool; agreed.

Can a tool do the work for me?

I had a brief flirtation with Amplify, but it seemed at cross purposes to ‘clip’ and aggregate when it’s unlikely to help me with my other goals to build a broader network, drive traffic to my own blog. Now if what I curated and clipped could be easily imported to my WP site, that’d be another story. See also, Tumblr.

The concept of (which briefly looked ok) was to create a list of trusted tweeters’ tweets (say that 3 times fast!), share that in the form of an aggregate ‘newspaper’ style post. They’ve lost relevance to me, just noise. Plus I’ve been getting spammed with papers @replied to me that don’t include anything I’ve written or shared.

Triberr. First happy that Batman and Robin (aka Dino and Dan) and many of my friends are doing well with it, good for you. The concept is there, the intent to be helpful for everyone and they’ve been great about responding to feedback. To summarize my thoughts on Neal Schaefer’s excellent Triberr review and my blog post of a reply on Kellye Crane’s post – it’s not the tool, it’s ME:

I schedule posts, but don’t blind RT. I don’t want to feel obligated to read, RT others because they do so for me. I wouldn’t be a good tribe member to others, not fair to them. I don’t want the appearance of being spammy. I could only use the it in Manual mode which 1) doesn’t save me time and 2) defeats the purpose of using an ‘automated’ tool.

IMHO automated curation is an oxymoron.

My goal here isn’t to bash the tools or those who use them, or beat a dead horse deader. There isn’t a service that knows my mind well enough, to curate content for me to set and forget.

Curate means to cull, select based upon some criteria. Aggregate means to combine, amass or group some type of collection. In terms of ‘social’ I think of rhyme and reason. Some method to the madness, right? Assigning a list of ‘trusted’ friends doesn’t equal selectivity when said friends could have an off day as easily as I, have a different opinion, or maybe post something a little controversial. (Last week I wrote about VAGINAS. Just saying.)

Which I am ALL for different and edgy and healthy disagreements, I just need to qualify that if and when I share those posts. I’d love to tweet, share more, save time yet – per my style of curation – I don’t see a way to put that on autopilot.

Okay friends, lemme have it.

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25 thoughts on “Curation Automation Infatuation

  1. Davina,

    Thanks for adding your opinion to the conversation and also for noting my blog post above. Automation is something which is evil yet has always existed within Twitter, even before Triberr, beginning with automated follow backs and then importing an RSS reader and automating your actual tweeting. Bloggers helping out other bloggers is also something which has always existed, and I have personally retweeted the content of other bloggers that I know well and believe in their content from way before Triberr times.

    Triberr has the potential to be a convenient extension of the above in positive terms, but it can also have strong negative connotations if one simply joins as many tribes as possible and automate the acceptance of everyone’s blog posts. Although I have met many quality bloggers using Triberr, there are also many who’s blog posts I might not necessarily consider to be of a quality my readers would accept, and I do not post those into my Twitter stream. I also find many bloggers who simply want as many web hits as possible to be apparently over-blogging because they have a group of people that will ReTweet on their behalf. This has the potential of bringing the quality of content added to the Social Web down to a level of SEO-optimized articles (note: low quality IMHO). This only represents a minority of the bloggers active on Triberr, but all it takes is for one of these bloggers to exist to give me reason enough to leave a tribe, which I have done on multiple occasions.

    At the end of the day, you are what you tweet, and curation of content that does not represent your brand will confuse your followers and cause them to unfollow you, thus defeating the purpose of using the tool. Until bloggers using Triberr see that, they will continue to do what they do.
    Neal Schaffer recently posted..There’s No Such Thing as Social Media ROI

    1. You’re right Neal, many of the concepts existed before the tools were introduced, not just Triberr. IMO there’s difference in natural reciprocity, supporting one’s community vs. a quid-pro-quo comment/RT exchange. I don’t mind a little automation, but think depending on one’s style and goals, it gets overused. Part of it is my ‘less is more’ approach, mostly because I don’t have the kind of time. Part of it is not like seeing broadcast channels in my stream, nothing but one automated (via many tools and feeds, not just Triberr) tweet and/or RT after another, yet no engagement or curation. I understand and respect how many choose to use Triberr, that they know and trust their tribes. Again, it’s just me and I don’t have the time vs. what’s already ‘working’ for me. Really appreciate your thoughts, thanks for sharing.

  2. I read everything I share, but I don’t share everything I read. My “process” for deciding what to share isn’t very scientific. It isn’t based on who wrote the post. If something stands out to me as being particularly thought-provoking, informative, or funny, I share it.

    I do schedule re-tweets if I’m reading posts late at night, which actually happens quite often when I have a lot of work projects. I want the RT to go out when more people are online. I know a few people who do their newsletters manually–the quality difference is extraordinary.

    In the end, each individual makes their own choice about how they want to use social media. And I’m not here to judge them. I’m here to listen, learn, and share.

    Very thought-provoking post Davina! Now I’m off to share it. 🙂
    Marianne Worley recently posted..When is “Don’t Go to College” the Best Advice?

    1. Thanks for the share and comment. “I read everything I share, but I don’t share everything I read.” Twins, I owe you a Coke Marianne. I intend to share more, get back, add a comment or think of the RT but it doesn’t always happen. I too timeshift, will read and schedule things later in the day, or the next .. similar method to my madness.

      The few Papers I’ve bothered to click lately, none have been that good.. so I now have TD filtering it. Not judging either, really support those who make their own choices and yes, TEHO. 🙂

  3. I quit a tribe on Triberr that I could not promote half of the posts. Some were poorly written with spelling and grammar mistakes, and one blogger likes to curse just for shock value. Not for me.

    I am now in John Falchetto’s tribe, and the members of this particular tribe I can say with all sincerity I would tweet them anyway. This is a much better fit for me. I guess it comes down to what you want. Now I am working two jobs, and this allows me to tweet others while I am doing other things. Just a thought.

    I hate those things. They annoy me. If I want to curate, I will determine what I am going to include. So there!
    Nancy Davis recently posted..Are You Living In the Past?

    1. The Papers I think fell into the trap of being 1) under-curated and 2) overused. Some of my favorite posts are the ones people have self-curated, like Gini’s Gin and Topics, Shonali’s Weekly, etc. I did a post of curated posts I liked because not only do people like @Kikolani and @nittyGriddyblog put together lists of posts, they tell you a little about them and why they picked them. That kind of curation, I love.

      Sounds like you found a Tribe that works for you Nancy. I think I have trust issues. Do I trust John, Danny, Mark, yourself, so many more to write something worth reading? Absotively. Do I trust that I’ll always agree, always be 100% comfortable endorsing sight unseen? No. I also know I won’t always have the time to read everything; won’t always be around to engage on Twitter. It’s just me, how I do things. Nice of you to stop by, thanks.

  4. Davina, this is a great and really useful post. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t get into Amplify or

    What separates me from the bots is my ability to pass on sharing a post that didn’t mean much to me.

    1. Thanks for that, really. I tried Jenn, I dabbled in Amplify, I’ve clicked on enough Papers to know and yes, taken a long hard look at Triberr as well as other tools. It’s not that I’m totally against tools (considering automating something myself), just as you say.. what separates me is how I do things. BOLO I’ve got so many thoughts, quasi-related and dovetailing on this, as I couldn’t quite get it all in a single post. FWIW.

    1. Thanks Kellye. Now that I’ve been reading and replying to comments, I’m liking that phrase – and the ‘infatuation’ part of my title. We’ve fallen in love a little with this online world; the ease of clicks, tweets, shares, chats .. then whine – myself head of the class – when it becomes overwhelming. So we become enamored of some tools that we think will do the work for us, when if the goal is relationships and connections, IMHO that work is still on us. Appreciate you stopping in… maybe I’ll see you Thursday at ICF.

  5. Amen.

    The other thing you didn’t get into was the “junk” metrics (similar to junk science) that people quote like some religious tome when they talk about how many “impressions” their blog posts are now getting thanks to automatic curation (and trust, trust, trust in the tribe members’ posting abilities, based on online friendships that mostly seem to be months old, or definitely under one year).

    An impression is aspirational at best. It means that it is “out there” and *might possibly* be seen by X thousands of people. But for the most part it won’t be. (I know this to be true when I saw that last Friday’s #kaizenblog chat–which I co-guest-moderated with the fabulous @parissab–had more than one million impressions. Do I really think that a million people on Twitter observed our interaction? OF COURSE NOT. It simply meant that when you took the 800+ tweets for #kaizenblog and multiplied them by each of the participants Followers, there COULD have been more than one million impressions. But they had to be online at the time and actively paying attention, for the impressions to translate to outcomes.

    Like you, my networking and curation continues to be 100 per cent organic. Ergo, I know if you tweet about a post, there’s a good chance that I will also find it a worthwhile investment of time (depending on the topic–personally, I’m getting tired of posts about the value of commenting communities, echo chambers, why I follow or not people on Twitter, blah blah blah).

    I’ve almost over-tweeted my deep happiness with Eli Pariser’s book The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You. (I’m reading it slowly to fully absorb; I’m slightly more than half way through at this stage.)

    Pariser gets into a lot of mechanized personalization on the inter-webs. He also talks about the roots of serendipity and innovation, including the optimum environments for producing both. Neither involve automated curation. Just sayin’.

    Thanks for your continued probing of dynamics (and end results) of this online, connected world.

    1. Impressions… see also AVEs as faulty barometers of success, results. The numbers, the multiplication, that’s what a lot of folks are selling; I think of my LinkedIn stats and the vast reach of my network they allege. And laugh.

      The dynamics are changing .. and challenging Judy. I’m not 100% organic; I have a Reader (that could use some pruning) and schedule tweets (once I’ve read). Of course I want more reach, more exposure, more efficiencies, just need to find a way that works for me. The book sounds very interesting, at times I do feel things are ‘hidden’ online. I’ve got a post drafted about searching for different blogs, posts, articles and yet, when I do searches even with Bing, I tend to ‘find’ more of the same. Thanks for adding your thoughts, much appreciated.

      1. Hit and run comment? I’ll let it slide this time as a) funny and b) you’ve got a good one going at your place. (Too late for me to jump in the fray, I did share it though.) 🙂

  6. I would send out your stuff unseen Davina, including Vagina Marketing. I think automatic curation is a lot like relationships, you take the bad and the good. That is what it boils down to.
    We don’t have perfect friends, spouses, partners or family but we still share our live with them. I have the same approach with my online friends, we write good posts, we also write not so good ones. So what? Does it mean the person isn’t our friend anymore? That we wont’ support them online because we think that our ‘audience’, followers, will think less of us.

    The way I see it, when I like a person and their mindset I will help broadcast their posts. Especially the ones I don’t agree with. There is enough sycophantic chorus in this bubble for me to add to the big love fest of only publishing the ones which I deem worthy.

    I agree with Bill, these are all posts, and tweets, I think we gave them wayyyyy too much importance. For wine I will
    John Falchetto recently posted..How to make choices, leave a career and jump into the unknown

    1. I send out stuff that’s different, that I might disagree with John.. often to support my community and be fair. For example I know I RTed a number of posts on both sides of Triberr. Someone takes the time to make a stand, I’ll step out of the bubble and share that too if I like how they did it, if it gets me thinking.

      My only thing, thinking now also of the latest G+ mania, is that maybe our infatuation with the tools themselves is a little much. You read John, you network and write posts and comments; at the end of the day YOU do the work to build those friendships. Twitter and blogs are platforms, plugins and feeds tools; great to have and amazing what they’ve done to help connect us. I say ‘help’ b/c I think for the kind of friendships and relationships I’m building, they can’t do it for me – I still have to do it. For wine – or a Coke this morning 😉 – I will.

  7. You could be in my tribe and wouldn’t have to send a single post of mine out. And I would gladly send yours out, sight unseen. It’s only a damn post; you would only help my reputation.

    I could be mistaken because I don’t pay that much attention to the analytics or measurement, but I think I get very little traffic from people dropping in when my posts go out under Triberr and posted by others. Whereas I get traffic, I just don’t have that kind of pull.

    It is what it is and from King Tool, that is the only tool I use………just sayin’……..:)
    Bill Dorman recently posted..4 Random observations via my vlog

    1. You’re a brave one, to send out some of my stuff unseen. 😉 I know what you’re saying Bill .. it’s ME. If someone shares my posts, I’m the kind of person to say Thank You, to get to know them and possibly, share their stuff if I like it. I put that pressure on myself, to extend those courtesies. You’re right – they’re only posts and tweets, so best not to take it all too seriously – which I know I do sometimes. Thank you sir, oh … a new video, I know what I’ll be watching tomorrow. Night. 😉

    2. I sort of come from the Bill Dorman camp on this one (Did I really just say that!) — it’s just a tweet. While I do believe that your tweets are a reflection of you and your brand, if you are in a tribe with people whose content you trust, your risk is pretty low. And if a really bad one slips through, you can deal with it (for the record, I have yet to hear of this happening). I think most people get Triberr at this point.

      I think one of the keys, if you care (and I do), is simply to stay in small, focused tribes. The monster tribes present much bigger issues of who is posting what.
      Adam Toporek recently posted..Google+ and The Illusion of Privacy

      1. I get what you’re saying, I do Adam. I am taking it to heart and not putting so much pressure on my tweeting, sharing. I’m sure I share plenty of stuff not relevant to others, or stuff that’s already been shared 400 times; but I still have to read or at least scan what I share. For me a if a tool is more work to use, if it takes more time that it saves, then it’s not for me. So even a small tribe wouldn’t work, don’t always have the time.

        I know you care, I know most of the folks are being selective and wanting to focus on quality. This isn’t just about Triberr, but the notion that a Paper or Tumblr feed can do all this relationship building, content development, social networking for me; they can help but they can’t do the real work, that’s still on me. Thanks.

  8. ~Sigh~ It can get very overwhelming, can’t it? Much like @Neicole Crepeau’s post today, we’re all suffering from a bit of fatigue with it all. Is it because we’ve plateaued? We’ve reached a comfortable place, then new stuff is thrown at us, new platforms, new shiny toys, and hey, life and business and family? I don’t know. I sense it from many folks at the moment.

    What I think we’re missing is stamina! Or, a better pace that doesn’t burn us out. You know how I feel about Triberr and all the other tools that surround us, so I won’t get into that again, beating that horse deader, as you say. I will say thanks for hanging in there with me, for the link love and attention grabbing opener ;), and for being the authentic you that you are!
    Erica Allison recently posted..The Challenge For Selling B2B Isn’t Packaging (@RDempsey)

    1. Stamina, pace – that’s it Erica. It’s why I am sticking to two posts a week, no more; why I am scaling back on my reading/commenting. Something I’ve got kicking around my head as a wisp in a post next week and I think I real post sometime after. For all the talk of ‘now’ this is not about immediate; it’s real-time work, investing in a long tail, long term. (Just thinking.)

      Liked Neicole’s post too and the conflicts she mentioned; tools are great and it’s helpful to have so many, think we’ve become a little infatuated with them. I just don’t want to lose sight of the fact that a tool can’t write that clever post for me, can’t help me really connect on Twitter, make friends, etc. FWIW.

  9. Hi Davina!

    Glad to be back at your place; after a long family vacation and a couple of days of trying to play catch-up with emails, social media, etc., it was truly time for me to read a post like this. indeed.

    I feel like you’re my “sister with the voice of reason”. I too have been testing out and attempting to make sense of some of the services you mention, plus others that promise to make my blogging life simpler – but with the time I’ve spent tweaking, checking, organizing, troubleshooting and such, I’ve sadly been MORE overwhelmed.

    I am in complete agreement about “curation and automation being an oxymoron”.

    Automation is not conversation, and isn’t that what we’ve been told that social media is supposed to be all about: having real conversations, connecting authentically and building relationships?

    You’ve got me on the bandwagon sister :-). GREAT points here.

    1. It is about how we curate Tisha. I’d LOVE to find ways to save time, do more, and still contribute but haven’t. Has been a little overwhelming so I’m scaling back, timeshifting, multitasking and refocusing some priorities. Making things simplier – that is THE trick. It has to have real shortcuts, no learning curve, save more time than it takes to set it all up. I’m not against all automation, think a little has its place.. but as you say, with also taking the time to really connect. Thanks for stopping by, hope you had a good vacation. 🙂

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