The Difference Between Aggregating and Curating on Twitter

By on June 24, 2011

Twitter is an excellent place to aggregate and curate content. But what does that mean, and does it really make a big difference to your social media campaign? The answer is yes!

There is a clear distinction between aggregating content on Twitter and curating it – so today, we’re going to explore what these variations are, and why they should matter to you.

The Basic Distinction

The words ‘aggregation’ and ‘curation’ are tossed around online, and have a variety of meanings – mainly due to the print media’s insistence on debating what they actually mean. Put simply, aggregation is content creation, and curation is content sourcing and sharing.

The thing is, on Twitter everything is really content curation, but it’s known as an aggregation site. Confused? Even if you’re sharing an article you’ve written, you’re still recommending it to your community on the platform.

It’s no different than recommending that they read someone else’s article. The act of organizing and sharing information on Twitter is curation. You select which articles of your own you want to syndicate. But, it’s not this simple either!

Twitter Content Aggregation

When news is syndicated on Twitter, it’s called aggregated content. Many Twitter users set up dashboards filled with aggregated content from top news sources online. They then select which stories are relevant to their community, read the article and repost the link. Each article is reviewed for quality, and read so that the tweet can be personalized. Sounds like curation, doesn’t it?

But alas, it’s still called aggregating content. You can do this more efficiently by selecting an app to work with your Twitter stream. Feedtrace for example, looks out for the best links in your niche on Twitter, and displays them for you, to save you time. This is a crucial part of news aggregation. If you don’t have any way to find, organize and review the best news, you’re going to spend hours trying to find it.

Twitter Content Curation

As we’ve explained, link curation on Twitter does encompass everything – but with one fundamental difference. The Twitter feed owner does not read the article or linked content. They curate content in their niche, yes – but it’s just to fill space, or to keep their feed fresh. They might think they’re building a great feed by curating all these good-looking links, but they are doing it blind.

Retweeting links to content without really knowing what it is, or what it says, can damage your feed’s potential. And that is the real difference between content aggregation and curation on Twitter. So, what you want to be is a link aggregator – or someone that actively finds, reads and personalizes their link posts. You don’t want to syndicate content just because it looks good.

Despite the confusion surrounding the meaning of the words ‘aggregation’ and ‘curation’ on Twitter, it’s quite easy. Read articles, view content and choose the best among it. Don’t repost everything and anything you perceive to be relevant, even if it’s from a big authority site. Control your feed to make it the best.

On a site like Twitter where curation is the name of the game, becoming an authority aggregator is always best. Now you know!

Which news aggregation sites do find the most useful for social media? Share your favorite sites with us below!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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