Content curation is often the low hanging fruit of the internet. Outrage media sells, and there's nothing quite like posting click bait that turns social justice warriors into slobbering, screaming sycophants.
For those who enjoy thinking on a deeper level, content curation is more about finding interesting documents, blogs, and videos that are useful and force others to think deeper, as well. I feel like a librarian at times as I ask myself questions and post my findings. When I saw the opportunity to do this on another platform, I jumped at it. Here are three reasons why I'm beta testing for Plow.io.
It's My Thing
I used to go directly to the reference section in grade school, pickup the Encyclopedia Britannica, and just start reading. (I realize I just dated myself. I'm fine with that). The internet has replaced that dinosaur making my searching much easier.
Additionally, I earned the majority of my organic Twitter following posting links with short, relevant questions. I'm a multi-sport official working two sports at the college level. This experience taught me the value of being a good facilitator. Content curation is EXACTLY the same thing. Call me a cyber-librarian if you choose, but I know my efforts have helped more than a few people. They have also put me in contact with many others I would otherwise never know.
My Writing Is Better Not Bitter
Living in a vacuum is THE worst possible thing I could do as I writer. There are few things worse than being the proverbial old guy in a rocking chair on my front porch (website) shaking my fist that the technology world and extolling the virtues of the Atari 2600 or Commodore 64.
By understanding the current landscape of technology, I learn more about myself and especially my kids. I can't tell you the joy my son had when I showed him cheat codes to Spyro the Dragon on the PS2 many years ago. He was nine at the time, and my coolness factor as a dad was at its all time high. Until he turned 14, but that's not a new story.
I have many fond stories about my interaction with technology and my kids. My favorite was taking my son to TwitchCon in 2015. Not only did he have the time of his life, I had my eyes opened to a whole new world of community, belonging, and interaction I didn't understand. I wrote those thoughts HERE.
Macro Trends Come To The Micro Level
IBM said on 2013 90% of all data in existence has been created in the last two years. THIS report from Bedrock Data in 2015 adds more context to that statement. I heard this statement before and really didn't understand how to place it in context until now.
Content curation is more about search than anything else. Rumors have bounced around for the last several years saying Facebook was challenging Google in this area. While not dismissed out of hand by Zuckerberg, I believe the true end game is not traditional search where users type in a few words into a box and hit enter.
I'm speaking of mapping the trends of human behavior. Plow.io's tag line is "Optimizing return on attention." On the surface it sounds like trying to monetize content curation by attracting advertisers to the site based upon earned expert status.
Instead, I see this as a grand experiment where Plow deploys complex algorithms tracking what people share, what people say about what is shared, and selling that information in the form of advanced market research.
Essentially, Plow.io is a Big Data play using people like me as tools to cultivate content and do their work for them. It's a very cost effective move. I want people to see me as an expert in areas I enjoy reading and writing about. Plow leverages my passion and ability to track audience behavior and provide data to marketing firms.
A quick look at the founders of Plow brings the big picture into better focus. Patrick Graham is a serial entrepreneur, digital marketer, and business intelligence expert. Colin O'Malley is a developer, venture network adviser, and successful entrepreneur. Both have started and exited companies in the past, and Plow is their new idea to give every marketer better data. It seems like these two are making a way to do that.
Another point that caught my eye was when I researched content curation tools and sites. They fell into two categories: Bookmark managers and Aggregators. Plow is another aggregator, and its UI/UX isn't anything special right now. (Granted, it's in Beta, but nothing about how I share anything blows me away.) THIS article is the best example of what I'm talking about. Almost every tool and site relies on the user to find their own content based upon individual preferences. Only one used real people to cultivate content and analyze the results.
So why would Plow be in this space? It's very crowded, and there's nothing really sexy about being another expensive looking blonde in the room. Big Data connects the dots in a multi-layered world. Finding a better way to interact with consumers and keeping up with buying behavior starts and ends with the content they consume. Plow is optimizing return on your attention by leveraging algorithms tracking your tendencies and selling the results.
This is the new reality of marketing in the making.