Hamish McKenzie noted that Medium had become significantly more of a curated experience in its recent facelift. But I think in his positioning of Medium and Flipboard as two competitors for our attention, he misses something important. He wrote,
Medium rearranged the furniture yesterday and in doing so changed the way we should look at the whole house.
It’s not just that founder and CEO Evan Williams has finally declared Medium to be a “platform not a publication” – an important distinction that was revealed in a correction note on a Fast Company article. And it’s not just the fancy new clothes that “Medium 1.0” comes dressed in, which include full-bleed cover photos and new layout options. It’s also that Medium now has more emphasis on user-curated “Collections,” such as one called “Human Parts.”
That shift puts Medium squarely in competition with Flipboard, a smartphone and tablet-focused reading app, which in March gave its users the ability to curate their own collections, which it calls “magazines.”
Medium’s further additions of a “Top 100” leaderboard and a “Reading List” feed of suggested stories hammer home the message that “This is a place you come to read, and, please, stay a while.”
But Flipboard is often used as simply as a reading tool for feeds: like the way I access my Twitter stream, or updates from Wired. In that way Flipboard is more like the successor to Google Reader.
No, the product to compare to Medium is Tumblr, where the curated topics pages collated the most interesting and compelling content, as judged by a battery of editors, and each with its own ‘top contributors’. (See me down there at the right?)
I find it interesting that Tumblr seems to be changing so slowly — hardly at all — since being acquired by Yahoo. And one of the obvious ways to draw more interest to Tumblr would be the simple avenue of making the curated topics a/ public and b/ better looking. Right now they look like the (relatively unappealing) Tumblr dashboard, and there is little or no room for advertisements.
But I have made several of the curated topic feeds — like Tech and Design — a part of my central daily practice. I have not done that with Medium, although I do use Flipboard every day, too.
Sometimes pulling one sentence out a long article is a great curatorial contribution.
Since the launch of Flipboard 2.0, more than 2 million magazines have been made about every topic imaginable, from immigration reform to neon works of art toSherlock Holmes. Now, for the first time, all of those magazines can be experienced on the Web. Starting today, when you share a Flipboard magazine via email or social media, anyone who clicks on the link can read it, whether or not they use Flipboard.
The Web magazines were uniquely designed for desktop browsing, all with Flipboard’s signature look and feel. Each magazine has an expansive, full-bleed cover, and pages can be “flipped” from left and right, just like on mobile devices. Curators can continue to add content to their magazines from the Web and other Web magazines, but now they have a significant new way to grow readership.
Never took a real look at Flipboard ‘magazines’ because they didn’t publish to the web. Now I have to give it a go.
I admit that I get a kick wiggling into the Top Contributors in Tech on Tumblr. I am a soloist in a league with Engadget, The Verge, Fast Company and The Next Web.
The last few years on Tumblr have been great, and really shaped my thinking about social media, ‘the new writing’, and curation.
Thanks to everyone.
Eliot van Buskirk, Curation: How the Global Brain Evolves via Evolver.fm
This is a great survey piece that I somehow never encountered before, and despite its age (December 2009) is a must read even today for anyone wanting to grasp what this new-fangled notion of digital curation is all about.
The Content Strategist as Digital Curator - Erin Scime via A List Apart
The term “curate” is the interactive world’s new buzzword. During content creation and governance discussions, client pitches and creative brainstorms, I’ve watched this word gain traction at almost warp speed. As a transplant from museums and libraries into interactive media, I can’t help but ask what is it about this word that deserves redefinition for the web?
Curation has a distinguished history in cultural institutions. In galleries and museums, curators use judgment and a refined sense of style to select and arrange art to create a narrative, evoke a response, and communicate a message. As the digital landscape becomes increasingly complex, and as businesses become ever more comfortable using the web to bring their product and audience closer, the techniques and principles of museum curatorship can inform how we create online experiences—particularly when we approach content.
For a long time, we’ve considered digital objects such as articles, slideshows, and video to be short-lived. But today, more and more sites can be considered institutions that house evergreen assets—they collect, preserve, attend to, and create themed content packages that together, offer a unique perspective.
May 23, 2012 at 08:13AM via http://bit.ly/KyCG0X
I’m doing the closing keynote at MixMedias - Montreal next week: Curation In A Liquid Media World
Curation In A Liquid Media World
The rise of several mutually-reinforcing trends — ubiquitous connectivity, mobile devices, web-oriented operating platforms and apps, and the explosion of the social revolution online — are converging to transform the fundamentals of media. I characterize that as the transition into liquid from solid, and so, we are seeing the emergence of liquid media. This will change everything, and will raise the role of curation to a new, central importance. We are seeing this first in the open web, in blogging and other media forms. But the greatest impacts will come when media companies adapt to these changes, and then, subsequently, as curation within the business becomes as critical as external community management is now.
Twitter releases a new Discovery tab — yes, the tab you never click on because it is basically useless. Is it still useless? Mathew Ingram says its been despammified, but not much else:
Mathew Ingram, Twitter’s big problem: It still needs better filters
In my initial use of the upgraded one (which is being rolled out to all users over the next few weeks), I found things somewhat improved, but only in the sense that the obvious spam was gone.
The twitter Engineering Blog spells out what is supposed to happen:
Behind the scenes, the new Discover tab is powered by Earlybird, Twitter’s real-time search technology. When a user tweets, that Tweet is indexed and becomes searchable in seconds. Every Tweet with a link also goes through some additional processing: we extract and expand any URLs available in Tweets, and then fetch the contents of those URLs via SpiderDuck, our real-time URL fetcher.
To generate the stories that are based on your social graph and that we believe are most interesting to you, we first use Cassovary [Cassowary?], our graph processing library, to identify your connections and rank them according to how strong and important those connections are to you.
Once we have that network, we use Twitter’s flexible search engine to find URLs that have been shared by that circle of people. Those links are converted into stories that we’ll display, alongside other stories, in the Discover tab. Before displaying them, a final ranking pass re-ranks stories according to how many people have tweeted about them and how important those people are in relation to you. All of this happens in near-real time, which means breaking and relevant stories appear in the new Discover tab almost as soon as people start talking about them.
At this moment nearly all the stories in the Discover tab make sense. I wrote about American Football yesterday (see Should College Football Be Banned? Or Just Ban The Armor?) so the sports story about Eric LeGrand, a Rutgers defensive tackle who was paralyzed by a game injury is reasonable. But the Montreal Canadiens getting a new manager, no.
All the tech stories — Spotify, Caterina Fake, iPad, Pebble Watch, Moz — fit my profile, and so does the story about sardines, because I write a lot about food and the environment at Underpaidgenius.com. Online black markets? A good fit. Even the story about London mayoral elections fits because I wrote about Boris Johnson a few times (like this freakish accident video, showing a truck almost killing the mayor).
I will now officially look at Discover daily, like I do Flipboard, News.me, and others.
I wish there was a way to help it learn faster, though, like voting a la Zite and Prismatic.