How social media sites are (and aren’t) like digital curation


In my Digital Asset Management course, I made a case for Facebook as a DAM. I still see social media as a powerful and very useful internet-enabled filter to the world. Before we were enamored with social media darlings like Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Facebook, there seemed to be a lot of good talk about push/pull technology. Back then, RSS feeds were innovative. Push/pull still exists, it just has cooler exteriors. Yes, I let Facebook (and Jon Stewart) curate my news. I follow pages (news feeds) of organizations I care about, and of course I care about the news my friends care about as well, the assumption being we have shared interests. The news feed selection process is not manual, it is built in, and so I have a readily curated list of socially relevant topics to read.

Social media sites are definitely not like digital curation as well! No authoritative metadata, source information, or guarantee of preserved data. The technology is proprietary so I am only the user who can’t question the longevity of information. Social media sites serve up links and content that may very well disappear the next day. Sharing is not always caring–understandably, I can be averse to many items in my news feed. If I want to rely on information, social media is not the place to go for it, considering I need to see a citation and check it twice.

UPDATE 4/28/2014: I wanted to update this with new thoughts regarding authoritative digital curation sites and social media. I believe that if people want to reach the audiences intended by each social media platform, they will have to cater to them by rewriting content and curating it for those specific platforms. How authoritative the metadata is may not be an issue, if the objects are meant to attract attention and link back to an authoritative source.

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