Curation war is getting intense

One of the things which seem to interest web-savvy journalists and students is curation: selecting, contextualizing social media and web streams. I use Storify to report and curate events such as the Arab uprisings and the disasters in Japan, and now I’m experimenting with Scoop.it! creating a page about curation. I also use Pearltrees, for instance

scoopt.it
The service is in private beta and is still working on some important features such as a way to embed the pages on external blogs or sites. However, it looks nice and promising – it’s a very flexible tool, allowing to move articels around, to include images or not, to edit texts and connects the articles and pages with other social media.

While I was assembling my page I discovered that yet another curation tool or platform will be launched: Storination, based on Storify. Which makes me wonder which whether all those fledgling services (Scoop.it, Storify, Curated.by, Keepstream, Bag the web, Pearltrees, and others I guess) will survive and what happens to the content one has on such a platform when it goes down (so an important feature seems to be ‘easy exporting’ of your content).

I think curation is a major development on the web and beyond. For every geek who happily uses hashtags, lists and other tools on Twitter there are 99 other internet users who don’t use Twitter actively or don’t use it at all. Social bookmarks, rss-feeds, google alerts are as yet not really mainstream, which make it crucial to have tools to present the richness of the web in a fun and easy way. Journalists are really dependent now on social media for their coverage and need ways to work efficiently and present their stuff in a esthetically pleasing way.

In fact we’re all drifting around on a social media stream which never seems to leave us alone anymore, because of our mobile devices and the irresistable blending of the digital and physical realms of life.

‘Silicon Valley is a state of mind, not a place’

Cities, centers of innovation, do matter. Even though we have telecom, internet, tele-presence technologies, people seem to need concentrations of innovation and expertise: look at the international financial centers and the geographical clusters of technological innovation.

The tech blogger and evangelist Robert Scoble brought a round-up of what’s hot in Silicon Valley at the LIFT conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Some companies he discussed are located in Silicon Valley, others in San Francisco… but does it make any sense to make a separation Valley/San Francisco? Of course not, and Scoble said: ‘Silicon Valley is a state of mind, not a place’.

Which is interesting for virtual worlds people. There is a need for those cities and regions where innovation is so important (read also the works of Richard Florida). However, one can take part in this state of mind, even from a distance. I think virtual places such as Second Life can be important here.

It helps to actually talk to innovators (using SL voice for instance) and to share a same virtual space with other tech-minded people. I do know for a fact that my own passion for internet technology got a tremendous boost by meeting internet-minded people from all over the world in virtual environments, and most of the time in Second Life.

Of course virtual environments are part of a wider social media ecosystem (Twitter, Plurk, blogs, video, machinima, wikis, forums, offline meetings etc), but as we speak about changing mentalities and worldviews, meeting other people is of crucial importance – in virtual or physical environments.

So what is hot these days in Silicon Valley? Mark Littlewood has this great post about Scoble’s list on The Business Leaders Network. For the new media Scoble mentioned Flipboard (personalized social mazagines), PostPost (online newspaper based on your Facebook links), The History of Jazz (reinvention of the book on the iPad) and Datasift (screening streams of information).

Other media stuff: Storify (for curating social media), Curated.by (another curating tool), PearlTrees (a way to curate, structure and exchange information) and Prezi (cool alternative for Powerpoint).

What is not mentioned? Well, virtual environments. They are not on the list of hot new developments. So yes, for some people at least virtual environments help to get into a Silicon Valley state of mind, but those environments themselves are no longer perceived as being an important part of the future of the internet. Oh yes, Blue Mars now lets you rate avatars on the iPhone, but you won’t hear comments on that during innovation conferences such as LIFT. More will be needed to make virtual environments ‘hot’ again.

Related (about the innovation conference LIFT):
Digital natives are not the same everywhere
The murmuration in the Arab World