Sharing content that you think would interest your social media network (friends or followers) is a great way of starting conversations, getting noticed and making new connections. I use a number of apps to help keep informed, monitor trends and ultimately share to my social media networks of choice (mostly Twitter).
There are two methods of curating content for social media – original source curating or retweeting.
Google Reader via Reeder
As I’ve written before, one of the problems with relying completely on your Twitter (and other social networks) as your primary source of information is the firehose. The Twitter stream is fast and furious.. it will usually contains loads of great content, but no one has time to monitor it continuously.
So my preference is to start with my own blog / RSS feed subscriptions. I use Google Reader to manage these subscriptions and then read them on the Reeder app for iPad. Anything I find useful, I will share to my network from within Reeder. Reeder supports all major social networks plus you can also email the article or the link if you would prefer.
This approach is the best way to be the original curator (i.e. you discover the content and be the first in your network to share it – as opposed to retweeting).
As I mentioned above, the Twitter stream comes at you in a way that makes if very difficult to consume. Flipboard digests this content and presents it to you in a magazine format that is pleasing to the eye and incredibly easy to read. This is simply the best “social media reader” on the market. It supports all major social networks plus Google Reader and some news sources.
You “flip” through the pages of content that others in your social network has shared and retweet it (or similar).
This is a great source for retweeting content that you think will be useful/relevant to your network – but can also be a great way to discover new blogs to add to Google Reader.
I use Zite to find some great content – most of which is shareable and probably has not appeared in my existing blog subscriptions or my twitter stream. Zite is a fantastic app for discovering content based on topics.
Zite crawls over a half a million domains to find topic based content that it thinks is relevant to you. It “learns” what you think is relevant in two ways. First, you specify the general topics that you are interested in (e.g. investing). You then flip through the articles (similar to flipboard) and you can give each piece a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” (similar to a TiVo box). With this more detailed information about your preferences, Zite is able to deliver a personalised magazine that is independent from your existing social network streams – incredibly useful if you are looking for fresh sources and articles.
Naturally, each article can also be shared to all major social networking sites.
My favourite app for current events and more mainstream news is News360.
This app is a news aggregator that will give you the top stories based on hundreds of news sources. You can read these by general topics such as “Top Stories”, “Business” etc like any newspaper, but you can also add custom topics so that it will create more personalised feeds if you would like.
Once again, everything can be shared on social networking sites using the originating url.
One final tool that I have to mention – Buffer. I tend to read my blog feeds, use Flipboard, etc in batches. This means that I might find a dozen really useful articles that I would like to share – all within a 30 minute window. I really don’t want to spam my twitter feed with all of these at once – and so I use Buffer to release them more evenly across the day.
The one problem with using Buffer with the iPad apps above is that Buffer support is not “built in” to them. But don’t despair, the guys from Buffer provide you with your own, dedicated email address. All you need to do is share any of the content you find by email and Buffer will then put it in your queue and release it based on the timetable you have specified. Simple.