To Curate and Associate

Social Media and Digital Publications Surfed


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How to Create Curation

Curation is another way to get your image to a mass majority over the internet. Optimizing your potential success starts with curating your blog, PLN, or other. By choosing your niche, picking your prefered platform, and being consistent, you can create curation.

Niche:

Your niche is defined by your interests, what you can talk about for hours, your personality, but most importantly, what is sellable. There are probably a lot of mommy blogs, food blogs, beauty blogs, sports blogs, etc. So what makes yours stand out from the rest? You need to define your interest, then refine your niche. Taking my own business for example, I found a need for sex education for all sexual orientations, and I filled it with a multifunctional platform that includes sex toys. The point is, your niche is going to set you a part from the rest of the content on the internet, and there is a lot! An interesting way to come up with a niche could be by putting two opposing forces together. Like peanut butter and marshmallow. Here are some other creative choices to choose from:

  • Cruelty free leather chair making
  • One handed cooking
  • Public speaking for mutes

You get the idea. By putting two seemingly opposite traits together, like honest and politician, you can form your very own niche that stands out from the rest. This is fundamental to curating a blog. No one wants to read 20 different blogs all on the same subject. You need to become 3 dimensional in a 2 dimensional platform.

Platform:

Choosing your platform is the same as choosing your PLN platform. Where are you going to publish your content? Is your platform user-friendly and accessible? How can your audience find you? These questions should be guidelines into how you will ultimately chose the platform that works best for your content curation. WordPress was used here for its user friendly functions that seem more complicated than they actually are. There are plenty of tools on this very blog to look through for curation tools. Seriously, we have many weeks worth of curation tools to browse through. Choose wisely.

Consistency:

Once you have your niche in place, your platform secured, it’s time to adhere to a schedule that is consistent. Updating your project regularly with similar tone and formatting is key to obtaining an audience. You don’t want to talk about one subject for several posts, then switch to something in the opposite direction. Being on track and consistent is an important aspect to not overlook. People are less likely to come back to your blog/website/etc if it’s not consistent.

Curating your project is a relatively simple idea with a big outcome. Going down the correct path from the beginning is a lot easier than starting in the middle of a project. This site :http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-create-a-successful-curated-blog/ is a great example of expanding on the same premise here.

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How to Create your very own PLN

There are many different steps and areas to cover when creating your very own Personal Learning Network. Since it is personal, it varies from individual to individual. The tools I use and add to my own PLN are different from my classmates on this very blog. Yet, there are a few steps to take into account when setting up your own PLN. The video below is a great introduction to what we will be talking about here.

Your PLN is essentially a strategic plan to asks questions like:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where are we going?
  • How will we get there?

These simple questions will direct you in the path you need to go on to discover different outlets for your PLN. Your PLN functions need to address 3 simple attributes to the questions. Connect – Collaborate– and Contribute. Your PLN needs to fit into these 3 categories to fully optimize your PLN connections.

Connect:

If you haven’t already done so, connect with all social media sites you feel comfortable with. Facebook, YouTube, Blogger, WordPress, Twitter, Reddit, etc. This will instantly put your internet footprint on the map. You are now digital. This is a vital aspect to starting your PLN. This WordPress blog on PLN’s shows a great example of how to get started and connect through the internet. The quote, “Engage with participants through introductions by commenting on fellow participant introductions, two or three is ideal”, is a perfect example of how connecting Segway into collaborating. You don’t want to just be a fly on the wall, you want to be a participant.

Taking a page from my own PLN, connecting is just the first step into broadcasting your network. If you have a business, make sure to create a facebook page. Don’t worry about getting likes and attention right away. Build your page slowly and methodically. Your audience wants to know you for you, and not read jargon just for content. Take a look at my facebook page for my business Bisous Box. My site hasn’t launched yet, but I have 6 people already “liking” a page that isn’t fully developed.

facebook business page

facebook business page

This is the first step in connecting with a audience, and creating a worthwhile PLN. Once you’ve found the tools you need to connect, and you’ve signed up and started your pages, it’s time to collaborate. One last word on connecting, if you don’t know where to find the tools you need to connect, well look no further then this blog! We have tons of recommendations on the best sites to utilize for both PLN’s AND curation! A lot of it is also personal preference. You’ll hear about certain sites, check them out, and decide if it’s for you or not. Always look for sites that are well integrated into other sites so it’s easy to add to your bookmarking toolbar (like Diigo), or other forms of connection.

Collaborate:

Collaborating is another word for participating. Like I said before, you don’t want to be just a fly on the wall. It’s important to get involved with online communities and leave your opinions on pages, likes, comments, reblogging, etc. All these actions will link back to your own pages, and ultimately YOU. This site has 20 great tips that expand on this idea. My friend point from this site is:

“Consider your role. The article “Individual Learning” sheds some light on learning roles. Consider your learning style when designing a specific approach to your PLN:

  • Activist-Learning by doing, such as writing a blog.
  • Reflector- Learn by reviewing situations, such as posting opinions to articles.
  • Theorist-Prefer to learn by researching information and data, such as by creating a model.
  • Pragmatist-Apply learning to real situations, such as by creating a project that uses PLNs in the classroom.”

This is a perfect example of collaboration to build a PLN. You need to consider your role for your own network. You can’t be all things, it’s not interesting to read about someone who is a “jack of all trades, master of none” type. It’s more interesting to hear from someone who has the credentials and skills for one topic, it makes the reading more insightful and legitimate. So chose your role carefully. Don’t change your tone, or stances once you’ve started to great content and collaborate within your PLN. My personal role is Activist.

Here’s an image from my facebook business site that links to what my webpage is talking about. bisous boxThe sneak peek for the website shows three different components on the home page. The first being “Grab some Goodies” which is the shopping section. The second is “Talk to the Wiener” which is the text blog where Sex education is implemented into the site, and the third, “Kiss and Tell” is a video interview section where sex education interviews with adult industry professionals, educators, sexologist’s, and more share their stories and information. I’ve decided my role as Activist, and my tone and personality doesn’t change from each post. This is important to maintain a page that is reliable in its content.

Contribute:

Contributing to posts, your own and others, is the final step we will talk about here. It’s important to become and be a voice through the internet by adhering to the above information. By connecting, collaborating, and finally contributing, your PLN will be on its way to becoming as useful as it’s meant to be. You can contribute to posts on subject matters like your own, but don’t spam! The best way to contribute is by creating your own content (whether personal or business) and bringing people to your information.

There are also many different ways to contribute, it doesn’t all have to be over the internet. Contribute with friends, colleagues, and strangers. Carrying around business or personal cards that links back to your PLN sites, is a awesome way to bring your audience straight to you. When people know you in person, they’re more likely to follow and like your posts. Take for example my own business cards. They are simple and straight to the point, and also have a QR Code for people who have the “Scan” app on their phones.

bizcards

This is a fantastic way to contribute to your own PLN outside of the internet, and it’s very effective. Give your cards to anyone and everyone, you’d be surprised as to how many people follow through with checking out what you have to say, when you give a direct link, and make it as easy as possible. I got my cards from MOO.com, which is a fantastic card and etc company. A little on the pricey side, but totally worth it.

Contributing inside the internet is easy too. We’ve talked about posts and linking back to your site. This is extremely important for people who normally wouldn’t know you exist, to find you. Create a name that embodies who you are, or what your is business is all about, and use that name for EVERYTHING.

There are so many ways to contribute to your own PLN and create your internet footprint, it’s really up to you, and what makes you feel comfortable. Since it’s YOUR Personal Learning Network, there is no right or wrong way, just your way.

This post is an introduction to create your own PLN, and the right links and tools to look for. Please click the highlighted and underlined links to take you to personally recommended sites. Lastly, when creating your own PLN, remember to always link back to your site when leaving your collaboration and contributions on other sites, like I did here. Stay connected.


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App of the week

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While iDrated is not a curation or PLN tool itself, the idea is to keep yourself hydrated, and we all need to keep hydrated while working on our curation projects and PLN’s.

iDrated is a app that allows you to see how hydrated you are for each day, and update through-out the day with little reminders. I love how you can forget about needing a drink, then receive an update! This is important because some research says that by the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated! This app eliminates the possibility by keeping track of your hydration through-out the day. The best part? It’s free! I recommend this app for everyone and anyone as water is extremely important.

Pros

  • Helpful reminders
  • great visuals with charts and forms
  • shows up to date percentage of hydration
  • shows last time and future time of drinks
  • free

Cons

  • no specifications of weight/height/etc to counter in
  • only uses water, not any other liquids as a form of hydration, although not everyone drinks water all day.


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Weekly Reflection

This week was quite difficult to get everything we needed to get done, on time. Sometimes life, work, etc happens. Enough with the excuses though, as we reflect on the week and what we discovered, liked, and ultimately shared. As mentioned previously we took a different turn this week in what type of links we would look for. The international perspective is one that kept popping up. We know it’s important to appeal to a wide variety of people, and thus it’s important to think outside the box of American appealing websites, and more towards and diverse selection. We think this is a great way to expand our knowledge on PLN’s and curation because when it comes time to do our own project, and even work related projects, it’s important to have a audience coming from many different backgrounds and places. If you can try to learn how to talk and appeal to a diverse audience, then our projects can be better utilized.


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Weekly Rejections

As per every week, there are a lot of websites that we search through that do not make the cut into one of our posts. There are many reasons as to why we pick the articles, tools, and websites we reblog and build upon, but some just don’t hit a nerve. This week some of us decided to look at a more international aspect of PLN and curation tools, thus some sites we found were in different languages then what any of us speak. While this is great in terms of having the same information we’re reading translated and used for specific audiences, if we can’t actually read it, we can’t write about it.

http://www.curated.by/

This is a German curation site that actually looks pretty interesting. It is nicely laid out, user friendly, and even if you don’t speak German, you get the picture of what the site is about- curation. I personally had a fun time listening to their podcasts in German. I have no idea what the woman said, but it was interesting to listen to nonetheless.

http://smartr.mobi/

This site prides itself in being “the best way to get your news on twitter” yet it has no other information or how to. It could possibly be a link? Or an App? or who the hell knows! This is a perfect example of what we can come across when searching for the perfect article to post and share about.

Qrait.com

This link has a very fancy logo design that probably cost a pretty penny. Unfortunately their site has been down for a couple days, and possibly forever.

http://wpdrudge.com/

This is a wordpress page that is meant to provide a template (theme) for your curation blog. Now we can put a certain look and feel to everyone’s curations! I thought to point of curation and PLN’s were to make them unique to yourself?


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Yahoo.com as a PLN Tool

yahoo_logo_2Summary:

Yahoo.com is a VERY popular search engine and multiple outlets on one platform. It provides everything from mail, news, sports, and much more. Yahoo is a great PLN tool because it already combines so many useful features needed in a PLN all in one organized place. Yahoo also provides a slideshow on their homepage of relevant current events that change depending on your specified location in the world. Yahoo is also great because it’s international. Besides holding a US email, I also hold a french account ending with .fr. This is important because it creates a broad spectrum to obtain information and link back to.

Criteria:

I really looked for differences this week in how websites we may already know of are still relevant and useful. These well known websites are known for a reason, and it’s important to recognize their importance in a ever evolving internet popularity. As usual I also looked at user friendly ness, and reliability.

Recommendation:

Most people already have an account with Yahoo, but I recommend it for its other qualities like current events. Thier posts may not be the most well written, but they get general information out there.

 


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Skloog.com as a Curation Tool

skloog.comAbout:

Skloog says, ”

Welcome to Skloog, the most convenient bookmarking site on the web! The web puts a world of information at your fingertips; Skloog puts it in your pocket! Using Skloog, you can easily create shortcuts to all of your favorite sites; bookmark pages that you’d like to refer back to in the future; and organize and arrange all of this information so that you can access it instantaneously. Combining cutting-edge technology with incredible user-friendliness, Skloog is everyone’s Favorite Site!”

Summary:

Skloog is a convenient way to bookmark web sites in an easy, user friendly format. Skloog is designed to accommodate and adhere to the viewers needs, making things more organized and efficient for the user. The most interesting aspect of skloog is you can log into it from anywhere in the world. Meaning, the site itself is not blocked in any country, which can be a great resource to have when traveling but you want to stay up to date with your curations. This is especially awesome for travelers in Ch!ina who are typically blocked from facebook, google, blogger, etc. Keep your favorite sites bookmarked with Skloog, and have the ability to access it from anywhere in the world.

Criteria:

For this curation tool, I really looked for universal curation tools and not just in the States. As a constant traveler, I’m always looking and bookmarking articles and websites that can be relevant to my traveling needs, and Skloog fits that perfectly. I also looked at the web page itself and how it added up to the other tools I’ve written about. Does this site do what it says it’s suppose to? Is it user friendly? And this week, is it accessible in other countries? All these questions have been answered, and that’s why I think Skloog is a important curation tool that should definitely be considered.

Recommendation:

I recommend Skloog because it is different from everything else that is more mainstream. It combines every component to make a website mainstream, but it relates to more people across the world and doesn’t just appeal to an American” audience. There is an international vibe to the site, but of course you can add and bookmark the sources you like. I think this would be a great website to use, especially while traveling.