Content curation: Put your own stamp on it

Storify, perhaps better than any other social media tool, allows for content curation. But given the way the service works—users gather tweets, Facebook posts and other web content to tell their stories—it begs the question: Is curation journalism?

While most content on the Internet is indeed publicly available, that does not mean all content may be used freely. Despite the fact “private” content may be uncovered, not all information legally falls within the Internet’s public domain.

I’m going to stick to Twitter for the sake of this blog post, as it’s the social media platform I see most often on Storify and the one I think offers the most to the medium.

It would not be useful limit curation to verified accounts, as that takes away one of the most unique elements of Twitter: Everyone has a voice; an Average Joe could break a story before a national reporter.

However, if you’re using a non-verified public source, be a journalist and do some digging. Check out the user’s bio and tweets to make sure it’s a real account. Staci Baird would offer the same advice.

Robert Quigley, a journalism professor at the University of Texas, compiled a series of Billy Baker’s tweets and turned them into a Storify. Here’s the thing: Save for one tweet from a boy named George, all of these tweets could be found on Baker’s timeline. The only context Quigley adds—the only “storytelling” done on his behalf, other than compiling the tweets—include a note to the fact Baker’s tweets are a follow-up to a Boston Globe story by Baker, and the link to that story.

Quigley presumably made the Storify simply to make Baker’s tweet-series story readily available in the future. I remember sitting in the library a couple months back when tweets about Baker’s story began to fill my timeline. All of them gave the same instruction: Go read the @billy_baker timeline.

So I did, and it was well worth my time. Among a number of far more meaningful takeaways, it gave me the perspective and motivation I needed to buckle down and crank out a term paper.

My academic achievement, however, is not the subject of this blog post.

Back to content curation: It is not necessarily journalism. Quigley’s Storify, as thankful as I am that he made it, is not journalism—not in my view, at least. There simply isn’t enough of Quigley’s own creation on the page for me to consider it journalism. Again, Baird’s first rule in using Storify is to offer context (http://storify.com/girljournalist/stacis-rules-for-storify).

Steve Fox’s Storify, on the other hand, features both commentary and tweets from Fox himself; the Storify provides a critique on how to report during breaking news situations.

That’s my take, but maybe I’m being too hard on Quigley. What do you think?

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