Social Curation of News

For the past few months, I’ve spent a few hours every week on Twitter looking for scholars, PhDs, post-grad students etc within the field of new media (broadly speaking). The reason for this is the idea of social curation of news, a concept that is gaining more and more traction the more time we spend online liking, bookmarking, sharing, tweeting and retweeting articles that we – for any reason – find interesting.

It used to be the task of daily newspapers and television news shows to select from and condense massive amounts of information into digestible and finite units of news. While they still do this, consumers today have alternatives. If we used to have corporate curation of news, today we also have a social curation of news. What is your Twitter feed if not socially curated news?

However, the notion of a feed reveals the non-finite nature of information flows on the Internet, the very opposite of a newspaper or a televised news show. This constant flow of articles, updates and random yay’s from friends, strangers and RSS-readers contributes to the always-threatening sickness of information fatigue. Part of the problem, I believe, has to do with the fact that the feed never stops feeding. This problem has been acknowledged by several online services that now tries to find a cure to the problem; this is where socially curated news meets the finite nature of the newspaper.

Embedded below is a (rather ugly) box showing the latest headlines of articles shared by the “MEDEA’s New Media Academics List” on Twitter (currently following 318 people/organizations). Their shared links are devoured by semi-clever algorithms, categorized according to whatever ontology and then type-set and presented as The New Media Academics Daily, an online “newspaper” that can only be updated every 24 hours. Thousands of links from hundreds of people are condensed into a digestible and finite news unit.

Is it as good as a REAL newspaper? Well, yes and no. Nevertheless, news will be more and more socially curated and with ever-expanding social graphs (and interest graphs) – you probably don’t get FEWER friends on Facebook every day, do you? – the need for selection and alternative forms of presentation will likely increase. Paper.li and Flipboard is just the beginning.

For more examples, see this link collection on social-curation-news-services.


Image credit: .sanden CC:BY-NC-SA