The Rise of Curated Content

In LinkedIn

Mitch Kapor once said, “Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.” With so much content being published each day, never has this statement been truer. Realizing an algorithm is not a magic bullet, companies are beginning to put their focus and resources on curating content to solve problems ranging from slow user growth to building advertising businesses.

Twitter’s Project Lightning

Twitter, the perpetually stumbling social media giant, is introducing Project Lightning, a new tool that will offer event-based, curated content. Project Lightning will make it easier for Twitter newbies and casual users to immerse themselves in tweets, photos, and videos of breaking news and live events – broadly defined.

Kevin Weil, SVP of product at Twitter, tells Buzzfeed, “It could be current events. It could be breaking news. It could be awards shows or sports. But also cultural events and moments — things around your location and where you are. There’s amazing content, for example, posted to Throwback Thursday every single Thursday. But it’s hard to discover it; you have to work as a user to go and find the best stuff, but [we] can do it easily and can package it richly.”

With Wall Street barking in their ear about improving stagnant user growth, Twitter hopes Project Lightening will convert casual users to power users by spoon-feeding them content thus giving them a better understanding of how the platform works.

Snapchat’s Editorial Network

Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel made a high profile appearance at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity last month. Spiegel spoke to 6,000 of the advertising world’s elite about the new ad business he’s building for Snapchat, part of which is centered on an editorial network of curated content.

Snapchat’s Discover channels provide content that’s curated by editorial teams from a number of brands ranging from VICE and CNN to Cosmopolitan and People. Advertisers such as T-Mobile and McDonalds have already jumped on board to sponsor content. AT&T took it a step further and sponsored a branded content series “SnapperHero.” True to the ephemeral nature of the app, the content refreshed every 24 hours.

Apple Builds an Editorial Team

Apple recently revealed Apple News, a Flipboard-inspired service that will soon replace Newsstand. Recent job postings at Apple suggest the company is assembling a team of human editors to fine tune content generated by algorithms.

9to5Mac reports Apple is seeking news editors responsible for gathering “the best in breaking national, global, and local news.” They will also be working firsthand with content creators to “drive relationships with some of the world’s leading newsrooms, ensuring that important breaking news stories are surfaced quickly, and enterprise journalism is rewarded with high visibility.”

LinkedIn’s Pulse

LinkedIn completely redesigned their Pulse news app and it’s pretty awesome. Pulse aims to keep readers informed of news in their industry by combining the efforts of algorithms and human editors. LinkedIn already knows a lot about you – where you work, who your colleagues and connections are – and leverages this data to deliver relevant industry news to your feed. Human editors pick up where the algorithm leaves off, curating headlines and breaking news for users based on their industry.

Instagram Wants You to Explore

Instagram’s new 7.0 release for iOS and Android is also putting curated content front and center. Building on the Search feature, Instagram is now offering curated collections of trending places, tags, and posts by other Instagram users. The Search feature also added places to the people and tags categories that can be searched. Clearly they’re looking to lure away Twitter newbies confused by the service.

Evolving business needs and consumer expectations are exposing the weaknesses in algorithm-based content curation. Algorithms can only get us so far. As the perception of content curation evolves from niche to necessity, we can expect to see this trend explode.

The Rise of Curated Content [LinkedIn]