Curating social care digital content - learning from other industries

Published in Features on 19 May 2015

Keeping track of digital content, deciding what to read. listen to and watch can be daunting.

In the music industry radio and the music press used to be how peoples listening and buying decisions would be influenced. Helping people to navigate genres, styles, fads, the niche and eccentric.

However, today radio and the printed word are no longer preeminent. With youtube being the biggest music discovery platform and the hype machine being the 'have to go to' music blog review site how can people get heard above the crowd?

Digital music curation has developed as a way to help people navigate the modern music scene.

Digital music curation consist of three types.

The algorithm generated selection (when you use any of the major download or streaming services a log is made of what you listened to and how many times you have listened. This is used to link you to other music you might like).

The list based selection. (this is a bit like the charts, except that it's up dated in real time and reflects what people are listening and watching here and now). Think, buzz feed, BBC 'what's popular now' lists and the iTunes chart.

Finally you have the newest form of guidence - music curation.

Music curation is people based. A cross between a radio presenter and music journalist. Music curation is about finding and guiding people to discover content. It can be genre based, it can be personality based, it can be locality based, it can be mainstream, radical or something in between.

The key to good music curation is that it shapes the listeners discovery of new music by being both credible and critical. It doesn't say - you must listen to this, you must buy that. It says I like this and this is why. You might like it too. It sifts and searches the digital music world and guides you through the content maze.

So what has this got to do with social care?

Everyday social care organisations publish new material on the Internet. Video content, audio content, graphic content, reports, research, notes of meetings, presentation slides, blogs and so on.

Increasingly, keeping up to date with digital content is daunting and time consuming. A web-search  does not give you curated information it gives, firstly, ad driven links, then tagged links based on the way the person who has constructed their website has set the content up.

If social care web content was curated it might look something like this.

Individual curators with specific interests taking a role in helping people to explore content in relation to their specific interests. Not a blog or a point of view but guiding people to information and content that helped them see 'what mattered' to someone else and subsequently material that 'might matter' to you.

List based curation based on 'most read this week' or 'most watched content' either subject or genre based, that helps people explore social care digital content trends and see what people are 'talking about.'

Locality based curation that draws learning from where someone lives and supports someone where they live.

With over 1.5 million workers in social care and the millions of people with care and support needs its now unimaginable that curated content could over time be self funding through ad and other click through technology.

The key to social care content curation is how believable the curators are.

That would be challenge number one.