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Content Curation, Stock and Flow

What is Curation? from Percolate on Vimeo.

A lovely short video here from the guys at Percolate featuring some of their favourite curators (including Swissmiss, Maria Popova, Anthony De Rosa) ruminating on the subject. Says Noah Brier:

"Obviously it’s been a big subject of discussion over the last week, but we think there’s something bigger and more important about curation. It’s a way to create content in a very lightweight way and start to hone a voice and understand what works and what doesn’t. In hearing from these folks you get the real sense that most of them started doing what they do to satisfy their own curiosity. For most of them that curiosity transformed into full-fledged publishing as their simple act of sharing morphed into a hybrid publishing model: Combining third party content with their own original thinking to create something bigger."

It follows hot on the heels of another smart post by Percolate founder James Gross on the stock and flow of content, building on a theme originated by Robin Sloan, and expounded upon before by Noah. James describes 'stock' content as that which is timeless, durable, has a long shelf-life, is more expensive to create and is based on slow moving trends. Channels that lend themselves to publishing original stock content might be owned media assets such as a brand domain, YouTube channel or Instagram. 'Flow' content on the other hand lives in the moment, is inexpensive to produce, and is (to quote Robin Sloan) the "stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people that you exist", suited to channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest that can curate content that lives somewhere else.

Regular readers will know that I am a fan of this view on the world. James goes on to make some interesting points. First about how Tumblr is a channel that facilitates both stock content (own domain, permalinks to house content) and the flow of curating 1st and 3rd party content. And then about the positioning of content beyond reverse chronology and how if Facebook focused on creating value through permalinks it could get interesting.

For me, the big challenge that sits within this is the shift from embedded processes, thinking and resources that are established firmly around campaigning, towards the kind of always-on strategies that capitalise on both stock and flow content, as James describes. This requires different skills, different processes, different approaches. Not least of these is brands getting their heads around the idea of properly curating third party content, and managing the compex relationship between content which potentially has huge longevity, and the kind that exists in continously updated streams.

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