Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

11 Oct
Terry checked in at the Granville Island Public Market. Terry just enjoyed a latte. Terry is listening to King Crimson.

So much of social media is about transient information: where I am right now, what am I doing right now, what am I reading right now.

Many social media tools follow this paradigm: streams of information, timelines, ephemeral posts. The here and the now; as close to real time as you can get. One might argue that this is because old information is useless information. Certainly the pace of change, both in technology and even the world in general, causes much information to be out of date, and therefore less useful.

And yet, this is not universally true. Some types of information remain valuable over much longer time periods (unlike the details of the lunch I enjoyed today, which I am less likely to tweet about, rest assured). For example, many professions strive to develop a “body of knowledge” that represents the foundations on which that profession is based, and with which all practitioners within that profession should be familiar.

The problem is, the speed with which this body of knowledge is shared is so fast, and the amount of data so great, that is impossible for any one person. There is a need to provide ways to capture, organize, and disseminate the valuable knowledge that is created each day.

One technique that can be applied here is social curation, that is, using the collective wisdom of people to help identify, capture, and organize content. Associations are a natural fit for social curation. Their members tend to be passionate about the association’s mission, and they often have specialized knowledge and experience. They frequently find interesting and useful material in doing their jobs from day to day. What they need is a convenient and seamless way to come together and share what they already have.

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One Response to “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow”

  1. Robert M Barnes (@robertmbarnes) October 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    Great post.

    Associations will find real purpose and meaningful engagement with their profession or industry in curating information upon which important decisions are made. It takes time to validate the plethora of information available to people with a keen interest in any field. Associations would do well to employ people capable of curating information for the benefit of, not just members, but for the profession/industry, for Government and indeed the media seeking ‘authoritative positions’ on particular fields of endeavour.

    Unfortunately many Associations are not hiring for this skill set. Member services continues to be treated like product & program development where information management, research, curation and publishing information products can hold so much more value with little cost apart from time. With so much time committed to publishing on the web I am still struck by the lack of Association investment in developing writing & publishing talent specifically for that platform. Writing for the web is not like writing for print, TV or radio. Curating information for the web is not like putting together an event.

    Integrated curation across an Association’s multiple platforms, where Twitter opens up interest in a topic which links to a Blog post from an Association leaders opinion about the topic which is derived from a news source or journal article, can create deep and meaningful dialogue and engagement, again, at low cost. In this environment an Association can derive significant value for being ‘the place’ where this ‘body of knowledge’ is being curated and cared for by people passionate about it.

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