Robots vs. Humans: The Future of Content CurationBy Reb Carlson June 19th, 2012
Consumers and brands are both becoming content curators. The big question is who will win the content curation war: robots or humans?
Consumers are humans (one assumes) who curate based on their taste and follow peers and influencers with similar tastes to curate from. Brands are not humans, though consumers hear from them every day through social and have a crafted personality. And for many brands, the robots are the curators.
Brands are looking to influence their audiences by repackaging and repurposing news from other outlets.
In April Pepsi launched Pepsi Pulse, a site that curates news and content that serves as an online “pop culture cheat sheet” and uses a social ranking algorithm to determine which broadly trending stories to display. Pepsi also pays to license the full text of articles through NewsCred, a content-syndication startup that is increasingly playing middleman between advertisers and publishers.
Intel’s iQ, an online tech and culture magazine that launched in May, features a mix of original reporting from Intel employees, such as “The Technology Behind Dolphin Tale & Other Prosthetics,” along with aggregated content from sites like Mashable. Intel’s technology uses public RSS feeds to pull in the content it reposts and an algorithm based on employees’ sharing habits to determine what stories surface on the iQ homepage.
While most brands are fine with using robots, Steven Rosenbaum, founder and CEO of Magnify and author of Curation Nation, believes curation should be left to humans since content curators are the new superheros of the web. As he puts it, “superheroes are extraordinary humans who dedicate themselves to protecting the public.”
Curation is, according to Rosenbaum, “the act of individuals with a passion for a content area to find, contextualize, and organize information.”
Before robots take over the future of content curation, this is the time for humans to step in and be the mediators between the algorithm and the audience.
Image courtesy of Daniel Schweinert/shutterstock