Defining curating and filtering
My understanding of curating is the identification and categorization of resources. In the context of computer mediated communication, curating can be done by individuals for their own purposes, creating their own categories that work for their own personal uses and learning. I use curating in a number of ways: resources for classes, resources for my research interests, resources to share with family and friends on common interests, conversation starters.
Online, I use a number of tools and processes. My main tool over the past 5 years has been delicious.com. This program allowed me to access online resources from one of the three computers or 4 or 5 locations in which I work. In class, I am able to access websites for my class by going to sites tagged for the class (i.e. ACOM 203). I then can choose the resource that is relevant for the class and the lesson I want to teach for that day. I have instant access to the resource (as long as my internet connection works), which was not possible without the computer.
Filtering, on the other hand is keeping out information that may not be relevant or meet my needs. Like curating, it is focused on identifying resources. However, filtering is a way to avoid information overload. The key to filtering is finding the correct way to search for resources (i.e. the ideal key word, the correct network to access) and choosing those resources that meet my needs. This requires an ability to skim resources, identify their authors/purpose, and evaluate content.
The purpose for most who are active on the internet is to increase traffic. For example, organizations want customers to read their blogs, bloggers want increased traffic to their blogs, individuals want their youtube videos to "go viral", those on twitter want to build their followers. The more traffic to a site, the greater legitimacy it is given in cyberspace.
In the past, "experts" decided on what was relevant and who should have access to resources. With CMC, popular content becomes "expert" resources. If someone is able to access the computer, they are able to produce a resource that may be perceived as "expert."
Tools for increasing traffic
So it is important for anyone involved in computer mediated communication to know, understand, and use tools that will increase traffic. Some of these tools include:
Filtering and curating tools
In addition to hashtags, tags, and labels, filtering and curating tools may include:
Favorite: By identifying something as a favorite, others may access the resources or a resource may be retrieved for future use
Page counts Programs such as google analytics or stat counter allow your page's statistics to be shown on your internet page (i.e. blog, webpage). This not only allows you to identify your audience, but also allows your audience to identify how "popular" your page is and where your audience is located.
Ratings: By allowing others to rate your content, you are allowing for a review process from the public. Beware, however, that this might result in negative as well as positive traffic. Likewise, the ability to remove negative comments will aid in decreasing negative feedback that could be detrimental to building up traffic, but may also make curating and filtering less valuable.
Notes and descriptions: Putting the resources into context helps to contextualize lists. Programs such as sticky notes, one note, google docs, and delicious not only help to identify resources, but also allow for evaluation of resources and explanations/links within categories.