pearltrees, socializing and curating content on the web
Content of any type is not useful unless you can find it, organize it and interact with it. In the enterprise companies have tried many different schemes to try and get business content collected in a central repository, organized, tagged, version controlled, and searchable. This has often taken the route of "content management" systems. Content management systems to varying degrees, do an adequate job of getting some content into a controlled system environment. There are challenges with content management systems on two fronts though, getting content into the system in the first place (getting employees to participate in inputting content in some way) and getting the right content into the hands of the person who actually needs it. Search helps find content and tagging can increase searchability of course, but the whole system is only as good as the ability to input and tag the content, which inherently requires broad participation. To me it seems that the problem isn't management of content but the opposite, liberation of content.
Curation of content is a concept that is gaining momentum across various media types online. If you want to learn more about curation you can check out CurationNation. The idea though, revolves around involving human interaction with content to filter and organize. Combined with the power of the social web, curation has the potential to change the way we collect, consume, organize and share content online. Socialization of content could take the form of curation if a social system was applied to the process.
I had the pleasure this week of chatting with Patrice Lamothe, CEO of French startup pearltrees and since that meeting joining and using the pearltrees system. Here's a screenshot of my account:
The concept is fairly simple really. Pearltrees is a social network with tools and processes to capture, organize and share web content or pearls. As you browse and read things online you can capture those "things" in your pearltrees (web pages, blogs, Tweets, etc.). The social aspect of pearltrees then allows your content to be viewed, searched and linked together by others with similar interest. You can add pearls from others into your trees and share the pearls in pearltrees, facebook, Twitter, email, permalink and also embedded in other web pages. Here's an embedded pearltree from my account:
Overall I'm starting to think that pearltrees is useful and that curation or socialization of content has a lot of application in the enterprise. An enterprise private label version of pearltrees, although not available today, could form the center of a social content process that would address many of the current content challenges for businesses. I'm enjoying using pearltrees for my own research although I'm looking forward to a non-flash version so that I can use it on my iPad, which has become my primary content consumption tool. (They are working on an HTML5 version for later this year)