Feb 212013
 
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In fact, I’ll even help you.

Curating other peoples’ content is one of the best ways to build your own social media brand. Content curation, if done well, communicates several attractive qualities about you:

a) You know who the cool kids are.
b) You’re not afraid to put your opinions on display.This is a very early painting
c) You’re magnanimous (like a boss!) So you’re secure enough in who you are to acknowledge others’ contributions to the conversation.

Like anything else in social media — or life — there are better and worse ways to curate content. For a look at something that — in my opinion, at least — leans toward “better,” here’s a tweet I curated today (we can discuss curating Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook content some other time).

First, the original tweet:

Now, if we just wanted to “phone in” our curated content, we could just click that little Retweet button, couldn’t we? Or we could do slightly better and copy-paste an “old school” retweet along these lines:

RT @FileXpress Eliminating Insecure and Unreliable File Transfer with FileXpress [New #video] http://bit.ly/13gvOzx #MFT

To be fair, sometimes a quick retweet is all we have time for. And sometimes the original tweet/content is so good, it deserves a straight pass-through. But if the opportunity to curate is there, and we have the time, we take it. Because we aren’t mindless automatons, are we?** No, we’re not. We’re human beings. We’re original. We have something to say. We have value to add. So we consider following the pro tips* below.

  1. Links that appear closer to the start of the tweet are more likely to be clicked. No, I don’t know why they are more likely to be clicked. They just are.
  2.  

  3. Editorialize when you curate. Insert an opinionated/arresting/ironic/funny comment to give your retweet some pop. Separate your editorial comments from the content being curated with a familiar symbol. My personal favorite is this: }
  4.  

  5. Trim text down to the minimum, while keeping it readable to English speakers. Leave as much as 25 to 40 characters of “RT space,” if you can. This lets others get a word in if they decide to RT your RT. Note: it’s ok to neuter the meaning of the original headline (a little) in the process of making this extra space. After all, this is the Internet. Truthiness before truth!

 
Here’s an example of how I used these tips in my curated tweet:

 

* Use of the term “pro tip” is not meant to imply that I am an actual professional. In fact, I’m willing to bet a large sum that you can share a curation tip or two of your own in the comments section. Care to take that bet?

** If you had to think about that question, it’s ok. And it proves you’re not a mindless automaton.