Last year we explored Pinterest, a social network that puts a premium on visuals and offers ‘pin boards’ of topics collected/bookmarked/’pinned’ by the user. The metrics on the platform show amazing growth over the last few months, and many are still waiting for an invitation to join up. Scoop.it! has, on the surface, a strikingly similar mission: to provide a webspace to present ‘magazines’ of (hopefully) related materials based on a user’s interests and what information she or he has ‘curated’ for his or her site.
Let’s look at Scoop.it, and to do so we must appreciate what this notion of ‘content curation’ means.
One of the buzzwords in social media now is indeed ‘curation.’ The term is generally defined as the systematic collection and presentation of material on the internet with some express set of standards for why that material gets picked. More colloquially, Anne Ergos of Zest and Zen International states, “The curator is like a magnet extracting needles hidden in haystacks.” In this sector of social media, the magazines and pin boards that will draw interest will be the ones consistently updated with relevant information from the roads less traveled around the net.
What topics should your nonprofit be curating?
Scoop.it has a pretty similar interface as Pinterest, but with much more space for text, both from the original stories and for your comments. Moreover, Scoop.it offers easy access to other social media (Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) as well as the opportunity to curate simultaneously with Paper.li (a digital curation ‘newspaper’). The name of the game is to present a relevant theme for your nonprofit, and encourage people to come to your pin board/magazine/ newspaper to follow that theme and to stay in touch with your organization.
Indeed, Amy Sample Ward stresses the relative ease of keeping your nonprofit’s ‘magazine’ up-to-date as part of what you should be doing already − namely, keeping up with developments and news in your area of engagement. “We interact with articles and other media all day long, so pulling it together under a central topic should fit into that flow. Scoop.it makes it easy to collect and share the things you’re reading, talking about, and interested in without the feeling that you’re adding a whole new platform to your daily work. I’m excited to see organizations diving in to Scoop.it to organize news and information about their cause, neighborhood, or organization.”
Beth Kanter has even developed a Scoop.it magazine dedicated to how nonprofits can develop Scoop.it magazines.
The speed of development of these sites suggests we will see some shakeout in the curation sector over the next number of months. And heaven knows the internet loves whatever is newest, shiniest, and has the most cats in it. But our prognostication is that Scoop.it will be one that lasts. It offers an engaging mix of visuals with narrative content, so it will draw engaged eyeballs who want some meaty information and are willing to spend some time on those ‘magazines’ that can help provide it. The platform also offers a satisfyingly branded and focused interface for your nonprofit’s readers without requiring notable investments in resources or money. You would be smart to do a bit more than ‘check it out.’ In fact, we’ll help set up and start a magazine with you on Thursday’s ‘How To’ post.