The Web Content Creation Spiral

Thoughts on essential factors of web content creation spiral which is a new model for understanding information flow in the social age. The “publish – share” model is not enough to describe the complexity of various content creation activities. I am thinking about a new analysis framework to capture the rise of content curation.

1. Publishable: Publishable means you can put your thoughts out in public
2. Findable: Findable means your audience can find your published contents easily
3. Curateable: Curatable means you allow your audience to do more curating work than one-click sharing
4. Shareable: Sharable means you audience can share your content to their friends easily

Sharing has more wider meaning that Isaac Mao described in his excellent essay on Sharism. You can write a blog post to share your ideas or a local news story. But I’d like to use the term Publish to refer to this kind of sharing of original creation.

Most of people just share contents with their friends by clicking the Facebook Like button, Tweet button, or “share this” grouped buttons on the webpage they are currently viewing.

Curating contents is not original content creating, it means recreating new contents based original creation. Curating contents requires more time and skill than simple one-click sharing. As I wrote a post here early, there are at least eight kind of actions of curating: translating, highlighting, editing, ranking, re-formating, collecting, embedding, and designing.

Then, let’s think about how content publishers can make curating contents possible, efficient, and meaningful. Curateable leads us to drill down on several issues including copy right (adopting CC), Social Curation Optimization (SCO, compared with SEO), technical side (Friendly URLs, metadata, Open APIs), community engagement (special programs to drive content curating) and etc.

For example, both articles on New York Times site (nytimes.com) and TED talks on TED.com are shareable, but only TED talks are curateable because you can translate them to your language while you can’t translate New York Times articles for public usage without copyright permission from them.

First, the TED’s adoption of Creative Commons license is an important step to made TED talks curating possible. Second, the TED Open Translation Project is a special community engagement program which made the curating work efficient.

Also, publisher need to take care the metadata of their contents for both sharable and curateable. Many bloggers don’t care their blog’s metadata. The result of empty description of blog posts is lot of sharing tools and content curation tools display the shared/curated links with tons of key words for all webpages from same blog. When you share these kind of webpage links in Google+ stream, you need to remove the description. It’s doesn’t make sense!

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