The recent demise of the popular RSS management tool Google Reader presents us with an opportunity to reflect on why we curate content, as well as how we do it.
However, I’ll save the former observation for a later post. For now, here are a few thoughts as to how you might go about filling the Google Reader-shaped hole in your workflow.
One caveat before proceeding: it is never wise to shape a future framed solely on the wisdom of the past. New tools offering fresh perspectives on search emerge on a weekly basis, and the rather traditional take on curation presented below needs to be frequently interrogated, revised, and refreshed.
1. Other RSS management tools
There are many alternative RSS tools to replace Google Reader with, including Feedly, Reeder, Digg Reader, NewsBlur, The Old Reader, Feedbin, Pulse, and Bloglovin. If you haven’t already exported your saved RSS opml data from Google Reader, you’ve got until 15 July to do so.
Beyond that, you will be starting again from scratch, although that might not be altogether a bad thing.
2. Google Alerts in Gmail
I’ve converted the fifty of so Google Alerts RSS feeds I used to read in Google Reader into Google Alerts email digests. Duly filtered within Gmail to ensure they all appear where I want them to, from a workflow point of view this won’t make a great deal of difference.
Gmail’s search bar will also allow for keyword-specific searching in the same way that Google Reader used to. You’ll be browsing all your email as well, of course, but the default view is by the most recent results, so I’m sure we’ll all cope.
3. Social search
Keeping a search column open on keywords or hashtags that are important to you within social feed management tools such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite remains a good idea. Be sure to check Symplur’s healthcare hashtags frequently in order to ensure that you’re catching all the hashtags of interest to you.
The internal search engines of social platforms such as facebook and Google+ have a certain utility, too. You may wish to seek out specialist curators on curation platforms such as Scoop.it or Paper.li as well.
4. Search, your way
There are no definitive best practices in content curation, and how and where you search for content will be contingent upon why you’re curating it, and what you intend to do with what you’ve found.
Personally, I’m a daily user of the simple search tools and filters that are to be found at the top of every page of Google search results in order to help me refine my searches. Make life easy for yourself by using Google’s search operators in your search term, too.
Finally, there’s a strong case to be made in favour of the benefits of creating your own content rather than curating that which has been created by others.
Let’s not forget that.