Employees as content curators

Posted on March 2nd 2011

Employees as content curators

After not too long a wait since submitting my request, I got an invitation to set up a Storify account. Storify bills itself as “a way to tell stories using social media such as Tweets, photos and videos.” It is, in fact, a content curation tool. You set up a story on any theme you like, then find just about any kind of content available on the Net and move it into a timeline over which you have complete control.

Beta account holders have set up Storify stories on the role of social media in the Middle East, Charlie Sheen’s first tweet, and a variety of other topics. I’ve already reported on NPR Senior Strategist Andy Carvin’s use of Storify to manage the information he accumulated from long-cultivated resources in the Middle East—in tweets, blog posts, videos, and photos—as his resource for reporting on the uprising in Tunisia, all from the comfort of his Washington, D.c.-area home.

If you want more information on Carvin’s use of Storify, Burt Herman has (of course) created a Storify story covering it. It’s also covered on the Storify blog.

I’ve started my first Storify story on why companies should open network access to social media for employees. You can find it here.

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As I’ve worked with Storify (which is staggeringly easy to use), it has occurred to me that employees can create amazing Storify stories. To begin with, they can collect new and archived information about their areas of subject matter expertise. I can envision Storify stories about the latest innovation in certain scientific endeavors (useful in a pharmaceutical company, for example), recruiting practices, engineering techniques, the list goes on. The value of these curated “stories” comes from applying their judgment to a collection of content that filters through the clutter in order to provide meaningful and timely information to colleagues and peers.

Product managers can keep track of the most relevant and interesting reports about brands. Even employee communciations managers can collect the most interesting tweets, blog posts and other social content about the company to help employees understand how the public perceives them.

The fact that these collections would be available to the broader public isn’t an issue, since it’s simply a filtering of content that is already accessible to everyone. Yet by embedding the stories on the intranet, the colleagues of these volunteer curators become the primary audience for their efforts.

Storify is just one of a flood of new curation tools hitting the market, any of which engaged employees could use to help their co-workers digest only the most relevant, important content from the web. Of course, employees in most companies would be stymied from even making the attempt because their employers block access to social channels.

The reasons for blocking are as overblown as ever, but the pace with which useful, usable tools are emerging that benefit the organization is gathering steam. Smart organizations will harnass these tools and their employees’ passions to make online information more meaningful, resulting in the achievement of core organizational objectives from improved customer satisfaction to larger market share and higher earnings.

The stupid companies will just keep blocking.

ShelHoltz

Shel Holtz

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