Its true we’re on information overload. We use multiple social networking platforms, which have different audiences and expectations. If you’re considering your audience, you’re wondering how you can add value. And if your considerting your schedule, your wondering how you can possibly catch everything?

Enter: Twitter curation.

There are several services that curate or organize tweets based on Twitter lists or keywords. Why bother with these services? Its ultimately a chicken-or-an-egg situation, because the service you choose will depend on what your trying to accomplish. Generally speaking though, they lend themselves to community building and time saving features. In some cases they may even help with audience building. For those who track this sort of thing, I’ve noticed that in some cases using a curation service can increase the Klout Score.  Unlike a Twitter stream, these curation tools offer a way to collect a lot of information in a single place.  Having content in a single space that isn’t changing every 10 seconds has its benefits. For businesses, it gives them another opportunity to showcase the most important or relevant information for their audiences.

I use Paper.li to share content from other Social Media Club members. Paper.li sends a daily tweet automatically and mentions the contributors by handle. Its a great way to support other Social Media Club professionals and its been a fantastic conversation starter. I don’t have to produce the product, its done automatically.  The “pro”  is that its a great community builder, the con is that I don’t have control over the content. I do however have control over the who is on the list, so the key to Paper.li is to curate your Twitter list carefully. Y0u can also add keywords from Facebook or specific hashtags to your Paper.li. They’ve done a great job of expanding ways to have control over the content as well as the look and feel of the product. The background on the webpage can be customized, but I have heard some feedback from others that the look is cluttered. I don’t personally feel that way, but I can understand the criticism. One thing I do like about the format is that “paper” has images, video and its in color. I find it to be fairly engaging.  Paper.li is free and I often recommend it for businesses looking to add value to their community and to support their community. Because it sends a Tweet out with @mentions, it gets the attention of those mentioned and if they aren’t currently following you back, its a nice way to say “hey, I follow you.”I do wish that I could add my Paper.li to my own website, but that isn’t a feature offered at this time.

Storify is another Twitter curation tool and a story-teller’s dream.  I find Storify works best with specific hashtags and is a fantastic way to curate conversation surrounding an event. You can essentially choose the Tweets you’d like to include and even arrange them in a timeline or order that you see fit. Storify includes photos that people have used right within the stream so there isn’t any need to click on a link. Like Paper.li, you can notify the people who have been included in the stream/story. Creating a cool Storify can be time consuming, but for event managers its well worth the effort of putting together the story of the event and promoting those who promoted your event. Particularly for multi-day events I could see Storify adding to the sense of community. You can add Storify to your website, which I appreciate. Its a nice way to keep track of the conversation surrounding your event and gives people a place and a chance to revisit it. Storify would also work really well for TweetChats, so long as your TweetChat doesn’t have 5,000 participants. Doing a Storify with thousands of people and sifting through all the ReTweets would be mind-numbing.  I did a Storify a couple of months ago for my friend Derek Gabriel as he and a friend spent 12 hours on Kauai. As their pictures were posted and others commented, the Storify got to be fun and interesting.

 

Twylah is another curation tool that has a great lay out, that’s easy to read. It pulls content from your Twitter page so it doesn’t do much for community building. However, if your looking to see your recent tweets on particular subjects, it categorizes them in a nice, easy to read format. Twylah would ROCK if you could embed it in a web page, but it doesn’t seem like that’s possible at this point. So without community building (ala other people’s content) there really isn’t any driver for anyone to visit my Twylah unless they are specifically looking to see what I’ve been saying on any particular topic. However, for heavy duty content producers (newspapers, magazines)  it might be a great thing to send to followers 1X/week or so just as a recap of the week’s Tweets and content.

I recently came across KeepStream too. Here you can keep lists of Twitter in track. I really wanted to publish a KeepStream for a particular hashtag, but it won’t let me do that. I wanted to really use it to track some Tweetchats, but while I can search Twitter for a particular hashtag, I can’t publish it with only that information, so I was disappointed. I can do a Twitter search on a hashtag just about anywhere, what I wanted was to archive it. It doesn’t appear to be a feature KeepStream offers. I do feel like I’m “missing” something on KeepStream, so if any of you have used it and found it helpful in a  particularly application, by all means, please let me know.

You might recall I also wrote an article on Trunk.ly a couple of months ago. I still use Trunk.ly, but not to its fullest potential. There is opportunity for community building there, but I sincerely haven’t had a chance to build out an audience there, or even follow others. I do find it extremely useful when I am searching for Tweets with links that I’ve sent or I’m searching a particular topic, its more of an archiving tool than a curation tool, but I thought I’d circle back around to that in case anyone was looking for something like it.

I’m really interested in hearing from others regarding other Twitter curation tools that they might be aware of or use!