Seriously? Admit You Curate or Cut Bait!

Seriously? Admit You Curate or Cut Bait!

Before I dive into the topic, I need to clear a few things up:

  1. I’ve had this article on hold, partially written, for several weeks. I actually started writing it soon after recording a podcast session with Cendrine Marrouat of Social Media Slant. The topic discussed on the podcast was, cannily enough, content curation.
  2. I chose to publish an article on dissenting opinions as a lead-in to this article, in order to make a point. I can dissagree with an article, an idea, an opinion, without hating on a person or group. I can actually completely respect and trust someone and still, occasionally, disagree with them.
  3. It will appear that an article published by Carol Lynn Rivera of Web.Search.Social was an impetus for a rant. But, as stated above, I’ve had this topic in mind for a while. It would be ludicrous, however, for me to say that Carol Lynn’s article does not factor into my own publish. It does, indeed.
  4. My writing style is fairly combative, snarky and often meant to make people laugh, mostly at my antics and language, while also getting them to think. I felt no compunction to change my writing style before publishing this article.

So, the short and quick of it? I can disagree with Carol Lynn on this specific topic and still think she’s spot on 99.99% of the time. I can still share her articles, comment on her blog posts, and engage in conversations with her on Twitter and Google+.

And, because Carol Lynn is a savvy marketer that knows the value of duscussion and dissenting views, she won’t immediately call me a dick, a jerk, an a**hole, or any other derogatory name. She may absolutely call me snarky, though!

That being cleared up, we can dive into the topic.

C’mon … Seriously? You “Don’t” Curate Content?

Content curation has become the love to hate topic of note lately. Possibly closely followed by the whole content shock conundrum.

Part of the problem, as pointed out passionately and pointedly by my respected peer and lovely friend, Cendrine Marrouat, is the lack of a one size fits all definition for content curation. People can, and do, curate content in a variety of ways. Maybe they just don’t know it yet?

I’m Going To Share Content, But Not Curate It!

Say what? I’ve seen this argument a few times and it always leaves me scratching my head in exasperation.

Do you seek out the content of others because you can’t possibly create enough content to satisfy the needs of your audience? Yes? You curate content!

Curating isn’t something people in tweed jackets do as they sit amidst the dusty books in their library. You don’t have to share the articles you read and find worthy on Scoop.it or share them with paper.li to be a curator. But if you do, that’s groovy,too!

Do you seek out smartly written, savvy articles to add to your Buffer account? Articles that will be shared in a timely fashion via Twitter, Google+, maybe even Linkedin? Yes? You curate content.

Why Waste Time Researching & Reading?

One argument against content curation states that it’s silly to spend soooooooo much time reading and researching the content of others when you could be creating that content yourself.

I’m sorry, but are you both all knowing and all powerful? Omniscient and omnipotent? You can write on any subject under the sun without having to do any research, without having to reference any resources? Nope! I call bullshit!

If you create content without ever looking to your peers, your competitors and your betters (that’s right, you’re not the BESTEST at ALL BUSINESS) then the content you create is often going to be CRAP.

You’re not an expert on/at EVERYTHING. No one is. Curating and then referencing well written, helpful content means you care enough to educate yourself on topics that you think your audience might find interesting and helpful.

I Am Marketer, Hear Me Toot (My Own Horn)

Meet Joe Schmoe. Joe is THE marketer. It’s all about him and what he knows and shares. Everything he tweets is coupled with one of the following hashtags:

#Schmoesays
#Schmoeknows
#Schmoetivate

Joe Schmoe is a self important shmuck. There’s nothing inherently wrong with sharing your own content. You worked hard to create it, of course you want to get the maximum shares out of it.

But when you constantly hashtag your own content with #IKnowBest add-ons, especially that content which has long passed its expiration date for relevance or usefulness, you show your following that you’re not interested in sharing content with value. You’re sharing how much you value your own content. Do you see the difference?

Content Curation Isn’t Helping Your Customers

Or Landing You Leads …

It’s not? Color me shocked, because I absolutely take to Google to research the topics on which I am not an expert. Why? Because, once again – say it OUT LOUD with me, I’m not a flipping expert at everything!

I ain’t no guru! (and neither is Carol Lynn)

I had a meeting yesterday with a potential client interested in expanding their online presence and using that presence to recruit new talent. New real estate talent.

Go Creative Go has designed, implemented and managed real estate websites and digital marketing campaigns, but always with the intent to showcase listings and neighborhood benefits. Never with the focus on recruiting.

So, to prep for this meeting and to show this client I’m as knowledgeable as I can be about the subject of using digital marketing for real estate agent recruiting, I chose to look to the experts. I sough out, read and collected (curated) the BEST content on the subject.

I DID NOT INSIST on only sharing my own content. Why not? I’ve never needed to create it. I don’t have any.

Could I have created it? Yes, but there wasn’t a need. It was there for me to read and for me to share.

FYI, I landed the client even though I shared two articles written by competitors.

Curate Because It’s Already Been Said & Said Well!

Why do we feel we must reinvent the wheel? If someone with a sound grasp and understanding of the topic has already written the article, what’s wrong with reading it, asking questions if the author is available for it, and storing it for future use or sharing?

There’s nothing wrong with that.

There will be times when I can research a topic and manage to create my own fairly compelling content on said topic. But there will also be times when creating valuable content on a topic will simply be beyond my capability. I can’t become an expert at certain things with a quick Google search and and three article reads.

Some areas of expertise require years of study, practical training and much mentorship. In those instances it’s much smarter to seek out the smarts shared by those who are actually the smartest!

Curating Is About MORE Than The Content!

Curating is about connections, peer review and the potential for collaboration. I’ve stated this on many occasions.

When I share the content of my peers, I’m not doing it out of some ridiculous and unrealistic idea of reciprocity. The reciprocity share has never had any real value.

Where then is the actual value? In the connections made, the conversations had, the possibility of building a real relationship that will allow for sharing ideas and maybe even collaborating on projects.

I would not be who I am today without curating and sharing some fantastic content, which allowed me to connect with some great people.

So Put Up Or Shut Up!

Is Sharing Completely Different Than Curating?

Some would say yes. You don’t have to curate to share content. I disagree. You don’t share articles, videos or infographics that you haven’t read, viewed, deemed worthy and valuable do you? Of course not!

And I don’t disagree because I’m a dick or because I live to rant. Here are my reasons:

  1. Every time I record and subsequently publish a podcast interview, I’m curating content. That’s right. Curating! Without researching and reaching out to my guest on THEIR expertise, there’d be no means for me to create that “unique” content I’m calling my own.
  2. Every time I ask my readers to tell me what they want to read about, I’m curating content. Those ideas are NOT my own, even though I’m using them to create content to be delivered from the digital real estate I own.
  3. Every time I take the time to read an article, deem it worthy of sharing, and add it to either my bookmarks or Buffer for later sharing, I’m curating content.

Decide one way or the other! If curation is such a waste of time, and the smart and sensible way to market yourself and your brand centers on creating and sharing content that resides only on your digital real estate, that’s fine. Share only your own content if it suits your style and your business model. Some bigger brands do that quite well!

But don’t call me out as stupid, silly or lacking sense for curating if you engage in activities that, when looked at under the light of the many meanings of curation, as there’s no one size fits all definition, show you’re ACTUALLY, by some definitions, engaging in curating content.

Have At It!

I expect some reaction to this. There will be some agreement and there’s sure to be some disagreement.

But I do know that we can have a discussion, no matter our opinions, without devolving into name calling (and Joe Schmoe was just a writing tool, people, you know that darned good and well).

I look forward to some chatter, some discussion and even some smart, but sassy, snark.

And yes, I realize the fish in my photo shows a lure, not bait, but the only bait photos I could find were large piles of worms. Not really what I wanted to go with here, as I’m not trying to open a can of worms. Get it?!?!

25 replies
  1. Melanie Kissell
    Melanie Kissell says:

    I have this quirky, Polyanna-type trait, Mallie. Blame my grandma – I inherited it from her. I always look for the good in people as well as give them the benefit of the doubt. Because even those whom I may not fully respect or always agree with possess redeeming qualities worth praising and worth noting.

    I think you know me fairly well by now. You’re astute and highly observant and I’m sure you’ve figured out what makes me tick. You may have even figured out what matters most to me in life.

    I don’t believe, for one minute, Carol Lynn’s post was designed as a personal attack on anyone and it makes me sad to see it being taken as such. You’re entitled to your opinion, I’m entitled to mine, and she’s entitled to hers. No, I didn’t stop by your blog today to defend her. I’m here to speak my own truth – something you excel at.

    I’m proud to see you have the professional presence of mind to mention Carol Lynn by name. Others who disagree with her take on content curation have used her words to slam her but haven’t had the courage to call her by name. You, on the other hand, are courageous, Mallie, and I applaud you for that.

    As far as content curation goes …

    I say curate if you want to and don’t if you don’t. Want to run Facebook ads? Great. I don’t. Want to host a podcast? Splendid. I might do that some day. Lucky for us humans, we have choices. Do what serves you and your business best and helps you reach your desired results most effectively.

    Reply
    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Melanie,

      Back to where you belong, automatically showing up when you comment.

      I honestly hadn’t planned to reference anyone at all. You know me as well as I know you, and you know I rant about activities, not specific people. It’s long worked well for me. But it didn’t feel right here. I had started this article weeks ago, but once the whole Curate-Gate frenzy started, I knew I had to go about this in steps. Hence the dissenting opinions post first, then my long intro to this article.

      I disagree with Carol Lynn on one of many ideas and topics she’s shared. Does that make me a scourge on social society. We both know better. Does it make Carol Lynn anything except someone who shared her opinion and her experience? Same response.

      The issue is perception, as it so often is, We both believe very strongly in our own takes on curation. Some might perceived them as prickly. Might perceive our responses to the dissent as prickly, too. It doesn’t help that neither Carol Lynn, nor I, mince words. We can both come across as a bit abrupt if you don’t know us and our writing style. Which is exactly why I didn’t comment on her blog. I’d have come across as a jerk, though it would never have been my intention.

      And you’re absolutely right. If we all liked the exact same things and did everything the exact same way, the world would be a VERY boring place. Who wants that?

      And I absolutely hope I didn’t come across as slamming Carol Lynn. I was, if anything, simply sharing my own opinion in my own snarky way. Carol Lynn is NOT Joe Schmoe. She’s not even one of the many actual names who I compiled to create Joe.

      Reply
      • Melanie Kissell
        Melanie Kissell says:

        “If we all liked the exact same things and did everything the exact same way, the world would be a VERY boring place. Who wants that?” Not me, Mallie! NOT ME!!!!!!!! And I bet Danny Brown doesn’t want that, either.

        It’s said that “Timing is everything in life”. But in the name of everything marketing and holy, “Perception” is everything. 🙂

        Reply
    • Melanie Kissell
      Melanie Kissell says:

      Well, I see you’ve curated the link to some content and dropped it in the comment box, Danny. You little wise guy, you! LOL!

      By the way, if you ever decide to rent out your brain for a day, please let me know. I’d love to have access to that kind of creative thinking. 🙂 xoxo

      Reply
    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Long-winded, short and sweet, whatever the format, I always enjoy conversing with you online, Danny. Maybe we can actually interface, face to face, one of these days!

      Reply
        • Mallie Hart
          Mallie Hart says:

          I’m not, not even for a minute, saying you’re not nice, Danny. Because you are. However, what I value most about you, especially as we continue to get know one another, is your willingness to take a stand on a topic, even against an individual.

          Let’s be honest, you don’t pull punches. And in this time when there’s a parade of positivity-selling individuals who don’t practice what they preach, and certainly don’t walk what they talk, it’s that honesty of yours that matters most to me.

          Nice doesn’t mean anything when it’s a facade. I see too many nice-spouting Nancies that have no problem turning around and dissing anyone who dares to disagree with them.

          Reply
  2. Cendrine Marrouat
    Cendrine Marrouat says:

    Ok, Mallie,

    You are officially my snarky hero! 😉

    First, thank you for mentioning me twice in this thought-provoking article.

    You know, the more I think about it, the more I feel Carol Lynn was trying to vent her frustrations more than anything else. It’s hard to see others succeed where you have failed repeatedly, especially if you lack self-confidence or have a bit of an ego. I’m not saying that’s the case for her, of course. That’s just what I have observed whenever I succeed in something.

    With that said, I will repeat what I said in the comment section of my own article. It’s not a problem of semantics. When you hate something, you lose sight of its purpose. And instead of focusing on better solutions and questioning your own vision of things, you attack the message and messenger.

    The good news, though, is that the controversial article has triggered conversations. And may bring curation to the doors of many houses. 😉

    Reply
    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      My snarkitude necessitated the lead in to the article, and hence one of the links.

      I think it can be hard for anyone to feel attacked when they’re sharing an opinion or their own experience. I often have to take a deep breath, take a walk, or even squeeze out a few tears when someone gets a little harsh when dissenting.

      Just because I welcome dissent doesn’t mean that occasionally the dissent doesn’t hurt. Especially on your own blog where you feel safe sharing your opinions.

      To be honest, there were some perceptions on both sides of the topic that made for hurt feelings and ego jolts. That was one of the reasons I chose to hold off for a day and publish the dissenting opinions article first, as a buffer.

      All of that being said, I doubt I’ll ever feel the need to temper my snark when it comes to my writing style. I had too much fun creating Joe Schmoe and his hashtags!

      Reply
        • Mallie Hart
          Mallie Hart says:

          I think that’s where we sometimes run into trouble. There might not always be a fact to back-up or bolster an opinion. That doesn’t necessarily mean the opinion is wrong. Can opinions be wrong? I’m not sure. Opinions can be unpalatable, but by definition, I’m not sure they can be called wrong.

          Reply
  3. Brooke Ballard (@madSMscientist)
    Brooke Ballard (@madSMscientist) says:

    Of course you know I agree with you on this one, Mallie. My post will my ideas/thoughts/opinions on the subject will come out this week. I actually think sharing and curating can be the same … only in my mind, the very definition of curation makes it one step beyond sharing. It’s sharing with intent and purpose, as you love to say!

    In fact, there are a dozen studies out there showing that most people share WITHOUT reading what they’re passing along. That’s not curation. And that’s not smart marketing. Confusing the two terms is a slippery slope!

    Reply
    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      I, too, think sharing is directly tied to the curating of content, Brooke. There are many ways to share that content, and we don’t all have to engage in the same sharing activities to be effective content marketers.

      I really need to write a book or at least a long article about intent and purpose. It is one of my oft-used phrases and it can be applied in so many ways. Especially to this topic.

      Reply
  4. Meghan Cahill
    Meghan Cahill says:

    #Schmoetivate? Ahaaahahaha!

    “Curate” (as a verb) comes saddled with hoity-toity connotations and I think THAT’S what people shy away from — not the act itself. Semantics and jargon rear their ugly heads, once again…

    Reply
    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Thanks, Meghan. I admit that the Joe Schmoe section was one of my favorite bits of writing of late. When I make myself snort or giggle when I’m writing, I’m a very happy girl.

      You’re correct, semantics and different perceptions as to meaning and use of terms and phrases, plays a huge role in confusion and dissent, especially in our industry.

      Reply

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