Lazy Content Curators and the Bugaboos of Social Sharing

DennyMcCorkle
Denny McCorkle Professor of Marketing, University of Northern Colorado

Posted on September 4th 2014

Lazy Content Curators and the Bugaboos of Social Sharing

Sure, I am guilty. 

I find great content. I share it on Twitter. Then sometimes I copy it to LinkedIn and Google Plus.

It is called content curation.  While Heidi Cohen shares 19 possible definitions, basically: “Content curation is the process of finding, organizing, selecting, and sharing the content of others on a topic relevant to a targeted social community.” 

Awkwardly, I and many others in social media are lazy content curators.  

Socially speaking, some are worse than others. 

Are You Guilty of Any of These Bugaboos of Social Sharing?

1. You social share content without source attribution [it would be oh so helpful to include the name of the blog or a “via @Name”].

2. You copy-post the same content to multiple social media platforms using the same shortened link and the same hashtags, all without variation or comment [hashtags on LinkedIn posts and RTs on Facebook posts are the marks of the lazy content curator].

3. You share your newer original content and curated content mixed with an overwhelming amount of older original content [sure I love evergreen content as much as the next person, though it would be oh so wonderful if you could identify your new original content; try New versus ICYMI].

4. You comment on influencers’ blogs to be seen rather than heard [add to the conversation and I and others may want to connect and learn from you, too].

5. You auto-post anything and everything with minimal consideration for curating the best content that is relevant to a particular social platform and its audience [and you probably do not vett nor read what you social share].  

6. However, the worst of these bugaboos: you drop links all over the social web without comment or commentary. "Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking." ~ Albert Einstein

Social Share Annotation is the Better Way.

As I have always suggested to my social media marketing students, when the social media platform provides the space, they should add commentary or annotation to their social share.  A recent read about social share annotation adds much insight and justification to this discussion. “A social share annotation is the process of adding social value through comment, summary, perspective, insight, or question to the content curated from others.”

In an interview blog post by Search Engine Watch, Guy Kawasaki said that, “eventually, content curators will be as important as the creation itself."  No doubt, content curation is finding its strategic place in brand building, personal branding, and social media marketing. “Good content curation is as much about how you share as with what you share.”

There are many opportunities on the social web to use social share annotation to build or confirm a remarkable personal brand identity.

1. Twitter – With Twitter's space limitations, the proper use of one or two hashtags allows the curator the opportunity for limited though purposeful and searchable social share annotation. Also, when space allows, a RT style quote retweet allows a few words to preface the RT.  Even better, Twitter now allows you to embed a tweet within a tweet, thus providing more space for social commentary.

2. Google+ - Google Plus offers an excellent opportunity to add social share annotation and increases the chance that your potentially insightful comments are found when a career stakeholder Google’s your name. This personal SEO benefit is greatly improved when you follow a Google+ post format recommended by Dustin Stout and used by many.  Besides adding comment to preface your own social shares, you can share your perspective in the comments section of another’s social share, or as a preface to a reshare on Google Plus. Also, you may find career relevant Google+ communities with active engagement and discussions worthy of your added value comments.

3. Blogs - With your favorite career focused blogs, your added comments can contribute to your social recognition, authority, and influence. In some cases, your comments on an influencer blog may show up in search results and also improve personal SEO for your name and personal brand.  Darren Rouse on Problogger.com provides an insightful overview of why and how to leave your relevant comments on blogs.

4. Other Social Media - LinkedIn, LinkedIn Groups, Facebook, Facebook Groups, Quora, Reddit, Digg, and Pinterest, offer plenty of additional and often unused space for adding social share annotation to your own or other’s content when you social share. 

In summary, a lazy content curator is easily ignored.  An “added social value” content curator gets noticed, gains authority, increases connections, and jump-starts engagement. 

Just Try This, Please.

If you think more about it, it is not that difficult to add some value to a curated or original social share. Even the lazy can do it.

1. If you read an excellent and insightful post from your favored blog, then prior to social sharing you can leave a meaningful comment to encourage or engage the blog post author and readers.

2. If the curated content provides “ten ways to grow your small business,” then and there explain which way is your favorite.

3. If the curated content is an infographic filled with interesting statistics, then and there explain which statistic surprises you.

4. If the curated content provides two opposing positions, then and there explain with which side you agree or disagree and invite others to voice their side, too.

5. If the curated content is the best content on the subject you have read this week, then and there say so and why.

Elmer Wheeler’s classic proclamation to “sell the sizzle and not the steak” is often cited in books and training manuals on personal selling and advertising.  The lazy curator’s practice of “link dropping” represents the steak, while the “added social value” practice of social share annotation represents the sizzle.

In other words: "Sell the click through. Give others a reason to read or view your own or the curated content that is social shared."

The Take-Away.

As recently lamented by Mark Schaeffer, social media is over run by those whom no longer desire to act social. When we use content curation to post it and forget it, or auto-post it and forget it, or cross-post it and forget it, or vary-the-time-to-post it and forget it, we are missing the great opportunities and benefits that social media provides us.

It is not called advertising media. It is called social media. So join the conversation, add social value to content curation, and jump-start the engagement process with social share annotation.

Do you see a greater response to your own or curated content when social share annotation or comment is added to your social shares?

Image credit: by Denny McCorkle

DennyMcCorkle

Denny McCorkle

Professor of Marketing, University of Northern Colorado

As a nationally recognized and award winning Marketing Professor in the Monfort College of Business at the University of Northern Colorado, I help others to gain a Digital Self Marketing Advantage through use of social media marketing for personal branding, job search, skills development, career advancement, and life-long learning.

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