June 28, 2010
A Curation of Well-Designed Websites & BlogsI've been spending a lot of time navigating websites lately looking for things that work for a number of reasons: clean and crisp or powerful and punchy or dynamic and edgy. In the process, I created a Pearltree of some of my discoveries.
June 24, 2010
Pearltrees Raises $1.6 MillionPearltrees, a social web curation tool based in Paris-France, announced that it has raised $1.6 million in funding from European entrepreneurs and business angel investors, to accelerate international development.
Since the launch of the Pearltrees beta version in December 2009 at LeWeb in Paris, the social curation tool has developed a strong community. In order to accelerate the international development of Pearltrees, especially in the US, shareholders of the French start-up raised additional funding, totaling $4.6 million to-date.
Since last December, the growing community has pearled and organized nearly two million web pages. Moving far beyond simple bookmarking, Pearltrees users can select each other's pearltrees as a way to follow the topics they care about. Everyone can now browse pearltrees created by passionate users on various subjects, including food, politics, media, arts, travel, music and countless others.
Pearltrees Version 1.0 will be released later this year. Also refer to VentureBeat on the funding announcement.
June 20, 2010
Bookmarking Obsolete: New Needs & ApproachesMike Elgan's Computerworld post entitled Why Bookmarking is Obsolete brings up several useful and forward thinking points.
He writes about the web's growth since 1991 and says, "even after all these years, the way we find, navigate and save content on the Web works pretty much like it always did. Here's a page with text. Some of the words are hyperlinked, so when you click on them, you open another page. If you want to save something, there's a wide variety of tools that help you do so, but most people use the bookmarking feature built into their browsers, or social bookmarking sites."
The way we discover, find, curate and then access that content for reference later on is changing and needs to change if search and organization of content important to us is going to be truly useful. Enter human curation at its best. Elgan writes about social curation tool Pearltrees, a French-based start-up I consult to.
He explains its differentiation. "If you're a casual Web surfer looking for general content, Google, Bing Yahoo or Wikipedia are probably your best options for finding content. If you care mostly about what your friends think, then Facebook or Twitter or any number of the new social content-sharing tools might satisfy you. But for deep, savvy content, Pearltrees might be the best resource out there. It offers an easy way to find a large number of people who are very passionate about a variety of subjects and who have collected the kind of online content that true aficionados are seeking."
Photo credit: Media Futurist
June 16, 2010
Pearling the Best Food in San FranciscoI've always been a bit of a natural curator in that I love to collect things, save things, organize things, and later access those things for customization and sharing. Curation on the web is always more useful and relevant when it is "human creation" by people you trust. Wouldn't you rather go to a restaurant recommendation from someone you know and trust rather than through a random Yelp rating from someone who may or may not share your taste?
There's the organization aspect: I never got into delicious for example (it's just not for me), nor was I able to get my head around OneNote although I tried and my left brain tech buddy swears by it. I still use alphabetical lists by category and for the most part it works fairly well.
Then there's the human curation of that data into a format that makes sense for you and which may also be useful for others who think like you. Enter Pearltrees, a French company I've been consulting to, which is all about human curation of the web. Every time I play with Pearltrees or see newbies playing with it, I discover new ways the tool can be useful.
For example, during a food bloggers luncheon yesterday, I couldn't put my finger on the name of a San Francisco restaurant and googling what I thought it was or its category or location didn't seem to help. I tried my lists and sadly, it didn't seem to be there either.
And so off I went to Pearl. I had already created a Food Pearltree as well as a San Francisco one, so I decided to do a mashup and then add subcategories in a way that made sense to me. Here's the result of one new Pearltree I created called San Francisco restaurants:
Within the above categories I created, I can get as detailed and granular as I want. For example, take a look at my San Francisco sushi restaurants Pearltree in more details. Over time, I'll add to this Pearltree and perhaps borrow other people's ideas and suggestions for sushi I might like to try.
Rather than share an entire Pearltree of content inside my blog, I could choose to just share one pearl alone. For example, below is a pearl of some of my favorite Italian restaurants in San Francisco.
I'm looking forward to seeing new ways people will use Pearltrees to share things like recipes, recommended hikes, the best boutiques in a particular city, food and wining pairings, and perhaps a Pearltree of restaurants to avoid in Berlin so I can be better prepared before my next trip to Europe. Quality human curation is becoming increasingly important and it's exciting to be part of this Web 3.0 innovation that is moving things further along.
June 08, 2010
Pearling the Best of D8: All Things Digital ConferenceOne of great things about Pearltrees is the ability to develop a compelling story or series of stories through the pearls you create around an event. There was so much noise and media and blog buzz following the D Conference (D: All Things Digital) last week, that having a series of links just wasn't as useful as gathering all of them into a Pearltree so I could view them later at ease, not to mention in a more visually interesting way.
Below is a Pearltree I created on D8 Blog coverage. And, of course I could have created whatever categories I wanted and displayed them in any way I chose.
Below is a Pearltree I created on D8 Media buzz.
Lastly, I created a Pearltree of the video coverage from the interviews with the D8 speakers.
June 04, 2010
Bob Rosenschein: Israel the Startup NationAnswers.com's Bob Rosenschein talks to this year's Israel Conference audience. He talks about his 25+ years in Israel, starting his Company, and the uniqueness of Israel as a start-up nation, a country full of innovators and leaders. He also shows us the latest from Answers.com, which includes mobile support and the ability to tweet your questions directly from Twitter.
May 24, 2010
Social Media "Tech" Experts from the InsideJeremiah Owyang put together an amazing social media expert list a few months ago (the people are doing it rather than consulting others how to) and I just came across a really cool Pearltree Foremski created of those in the tech sector, my world.
Visual Bookmarking & Curation
Pearling those bookmarks is a helluva lot more fun.
May 11, 2010
Pearling Your Way to the Best StoriesSteve Rosenbaum's recent article: "Why Content Curation is Here to Stay" really resonated with me, not surprising given how much time I have been spending organizing and curating content in the past couple of months. This has largely been to three factors: information overload is killing me, I can't keep up with the increased content I receive daily in multiple inboxes (I include social media platforms here) and the fact that I've been doing some work with Pearltrees, an online curation tool.
He writes, "the debate pits creators against curators, asking big questions about the rules and ethical questions around content aggregation."
And then quotes Clay Shirky: “Curation comes up when search stops working. Curation comes up when people realize that it isn’t just about information seeking, it’s also about synchronizing a community. Part of the reason that human curation is so critical is simply the vast number of people who are now making and sharing media. Everyone is a media outlet. The point of everyone being a media outlet is really not at all complicated. It just means that we can all put things out in the public view now."
Frankly, search rarely works well for me unless I'm looking up a particular restaurant, hotel or phrase or reference on Google and for the latter, invariably I'm brought to Wikipedia or Answers.com.
Natural web curators are people who spend time online regularly - they're educators doing research on topics, marketers monitoring trends, journalists working on stories and fact checking references, bloggers linking to other people's work and ideas, content creators and type-a personalities who are anal at staying organized.
Everyone loves to organize 'something,' whether it's a teenager who loves to organize their room, a college student who spends time organizing their iTunes playlists, an avid reader who organizes their book collection or a geek who organizes the latest gadgets & tools from multiple sources on the web.
Bookmarking can only take you so far and while a lot of my colleagues are avid users of delicious, it doesn't work for me. My brain doesn't think like 'delicious,' yet I have played around with it and other popular tools so I'm aware of how they work and can learn what a particularly sub-set of people want from an organization and productivity tool.
Human curation provides tremendous value for those who do it and want to access that data later and for those who tap into their wealth of connections and links they've filtered. The way a set of links is displayed can make or break an experience however.
I've been playing with the Pearltrees' (who I advise) new super embed feature in the past week and the AHA moment I'm having as a right brain thinker who loves visual displays and learning through graphics and images is that pearling converts human curation into a unique and compelling story.
It's easy to get 'hooked' on curating when its visually interesting and fun, even moreso when your curation tells a story that hooks others. For example, in about ten minutes, I created two interesting Pearltrees, one entitled the World of Ben Parr (from Mashable) and another one entitled Ben Parr on Mobile (articles, videos and more about mobile from his perspective).
You can navigate from pearl to pearl without ever leaving my blog and I was able to extract only the data I DECIDED to extract from the web about Ben's world and about his thoughts on mobile. It's a beautiful thing: I, as the human creator decides, not Google.
Below is a much smaller Pearltree on Rafe Needleman & Journalism, which took me about a minute to create. I could have expanded to include past articles, videos, interviews and tweets that included content and perspectives from Rafe on journalism, but in this case, I decided -- as the human curator -- to give my audience just a taste.
Below I grabbed the sections of CNET Webware that I find most valuable and left the categories that don't interest me as much. This Pearltree presents my selection, which I can edit over time. Future edits could be the addition of a Pearltree that Robert Scoble or David Pogue created, one that might be related to a particular topic or held a perspective that was aligned in some way.
Here's what else is cool: I can grab someone else's Pearltree from their blog or within Pearltrees to embed in my site or blog. For example, below is a Pearltree IDC's Michael Fauscette created on SmartDataCollective. He used a Pearltree to highlight content on Social Business. The Pearltree tells its own unique story and I can jump from reference to reference, all while staying within his blog -- much faster and more unified than jumping off the site and then from one web page to another. You can also imagine how powerful it can be for a blogger or journalist to embed a Pearltree showing references and resources that led up to their final conclusion.
Another interesting way to use curation in a visual way is to have a series of pearls representing comments on Twitter or a blog post about a particular band or politician, or feedback from video, podcasts, Digg, Twitter, blogs and more following a Steve Jobs keynote or what about positive sentiment about your brand? Below is a quick snapshot of Web 2.0 Expo's San Francisco event from one person's perspective, which you could add to your own.
Below a Pearltree showing clients from a web & social media management consultancy for the music industry.
* We’re living in an era of content abundance.
* Even prolific creators are going to end up mixing their created content with a mix of curated sources.
* Creators, distributors, aggregators, and curators are all economically essential parts of the value chain.
* Advertisers will embrace trusted ‘places’ over trusted sources — large curated collections will achieve higher CPMs.
Hear hear and that's my point. Content overload is killing us.....help me filter please. Even the smartest aggregators can't replace human ones from sources you trust or share similar interests. And, advertisers and others will think the same way since the value will be that much higher. After all, value and quality is what we're ultimately after, not just high numbers.
May 07, 2010
Launch Pad: Enter Pearltrees Stage LeftPearltrees' CEO Patrice Lamothe and CMO Francois Rocaboy on the Web 2.0 Launch Pad stage in San Francisco this week, selected as only one of five companies to present to a panel of three judges.