#BWENY Session: The Future of Content Curation

by Kate Brodock on 26 May 2011

Posted in: Content Production

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Panel session with Francine Hardaway (Moderator), Steve Rossenbaum (Curation Nation), Eric Hippeau (Huffington Post), Ed Lambert (Paper.li)

FH: Steve, how do you feel about Content Curation and why?

SR: Certain filters have certain biases, but what’s really happening is that people are constantly making content, and it doesn’t get dull by Google, or there are no restrictions. There’s no overwhelming narrowness to curation.

FH: Eric, when you moved to HuffPo, what was your experience?

EH: Today, you’re one link away from another story. We were publishing 700 stories s day, and you were always reading point of views, which were meant to start the debate. The really story was happening in the comments. They weren’t censored in any way.

FH: Ed, Why Paper.li?

EL: Curation is the ability to create content and share it with others. If you have this curation effort done by humans, this is totally different, we all need guidance. We did Paper.li as a content platform so everyone can become a curator. We have papers on anything you can imagine. All the value of human-based curation.

FH: As things scale, it becomes harder for people to discover new, valuable things out there.

EH: Technology plus people combined are very powerful. It creates incredibly content platforms.

FH: You interviewed a ton of people for your book, Curation Nation, tell us about it.

SR: The book came out of a blog post on curation, which got the most comments of any post, so I went with it. In twelve months from two talks I did at SXSW, the room went from 50% of the audience who considered themselves curators, to the whole room. People want trusted content, they need the endorsement.

FH: Let’s talk about Demand Media.

EH: I like Demand Media.

EL: We’re talking about content, and then the next layer, the people who recommend and bring it to the surface. We have potentially thousands of people helping us identify these pieces of content. We’re talking about an interest graph, finding pele who are interested in the same things as I am, and finding them and establishing a relationship.

EH: We also take into account the lifetime value of a piece of content in our algorithm, which is reflected in the price we pay writers.

FH: Ed, how are you planning on monetizing Paper.li when everyone’s doing it for free?

EL: We offer them the chance to be discovered, they’re mini HuffPo Editors-in-Chief.

EH: This is part of a much bigger movement, the fact that we as a society are fed up with our institutions. We’ve lost trust in so much. We’re rebuilding a society where’re everyone has a voice, a democracy.

SR: We have to believe that the tools we have now will evolve exponentially in the next five years. Our filtering capabilities will be much better, much more concise.

FH: What’s the difference between Twitter, Google or Paper.li, etc as curation tools.

SR: I think Facebook can get personalized filtering right.

Audience: There’s a lot to be said about giving the writers tools to shape their content, curate and remix (much like Zemanta). There are a lot of ways in between that can make “thick value” to our content.

FH: I want to see where some of these tools are going to play into the space.

SR: Part of why HuffPo was sold the way it did, is that you had ad agencies willing to put up money against the content.

EL: I think the idea of narrow topics is going to be a big influencer on how some of these tools play out, micro-topics, and having separate people or entities covering each micro-topic.

Q: What’s the difference between being a Censor of content or a Curator of content?

EH: If you don’t like some of the things people are curating, go somewhere else.

SR: We’re able to now voice our frustration if an “Editor” censors our stuff. If you’re living in a world where you’re told that you can publish anything, and then you start censoring, you’re going hear about it.

Q: How owns the rights on Paper.li?

EL: We lead traffic to blogs, we’re a discovery tool, it’s a driver to the original content. There is now actual content on Paper.li.

Q: What’s the role of social bookmarking in curation?

EL: Paper.li is dynamic, you use social streams with intensive filters to have, on a permanent basis, new content coming from certain sources. You don’t curate one article, you curate a source on a particular topic. It’s really important to make this content accessible and discoverable by everyone.

SR: Reddit has a conversation, the discussion is great on there. Definitely an emerging space.

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