Digital/multimediaSocial media best practices

Why I’m not a fan of Twitter’s Curator

About a month ago, Twitter announced the release of its homegrown curator tool, aptly named Curator. It’s meant to rival the likes ofStorify to collect social media and present it to your readers. After playing around with it for a bit, I have to say, I’m not a big fan and much prefer Storify. Here’s why.

Curator is not really integrated into your normal Twitter experience. You have to go to curator.twitter.com and log in through there to use the dashboard. I found the experience here to be a bit clunky. I had to read through the site’s FAQ and any articles I could find on the web that walked through using the site (there weren’t many in the detail I wanted).

So that being said, some of the things I mention below may be possible or accomplished a better way, it’s just that I can’t figure it out. If you have thoughts or suggestions, please comment below this post.

Curator is made up of three parts – a project, a stream and a collection. When I first got going, I wasn’t quite sure why there were so many layers. After using it a bit, I think basically the project is your folder, the stream is the resulting tweets you get after plugging in some search parameters and the collection is where you gather the tweets you want out of the stream. The collection is the equivalent of your Storify final product.

The differences, however, between Curator and a Storify are:

** a Curator collection is a bunch of tweets, with no text to connect them. Storify allows you to craft a story using social media (many beyond Twitter, although most of my Storifies almost exclusively use Twitter for material).

** Curator allows you to filter by a city or zip code but Storify allows you to also include a radius of that location. If I’m looking for local tweets and really only want my town, the Curator filter is sufficient. But if I also want to include a couple towns around me, I can easily do that in Storify. I can’t figure out if it’s possible in Curator.

** Storify shows results matching my filters going back days. As best as I can tell, Curator is showing me things that match my search from now moving forward. I found a “time range” filter but it wouldn’t let me go back several hours.

** Curator allows you to mega-filter your search so you can be very detailed. You can choose the usual keyword/#hashtag or account name searches, but you can also filter for things such as no profanity, age, items with Vine links, accounts that are verified, etc. Although that’s touted as a perk, I’m just not sure it’s a level of detail most of us need when curating local reaction to things.

All of that being said, you may want to check it out for yourself. Maybe you’ll find more value in it than I have. I’ve always been a fan of Storify, so maybe I’m biased! For now anyway, I’ll continue to use Storify for curation and a Twitter Widget for an auto feed. If you do want to try it, here’s a basic how to:

1) After getting an account approved, log in and click on Create New Project.

Curator new project

Create a new project

Name the project (your folder). Name your stream (probably the same name). Assign “inputs” – as in what should Twitter start looking for. I usually enter a #hashtag search.

You’ll be brought to a dashboard divided in thirds – your search parameters, your stream and your collection, which you’ll start building in a minute.

Curator dashboard

Curator dashboard

The stream in the middle will start loading tweets that match your #hashtag search. You can press the pause button at the top to stop it from loading more so you can read what’s there before it moves things down and out of view. Just remember to hit play to get it moving again.

You may be OK with only having that #hashtag search. Or you may want to add more filters. You can add more hashtags; look for a topic (such as movies); search by a person’s Twitter handle or a Twitter list; and use the filter option that allows you to pick things like “profanity,” “age” and “retweets.”

Curator filters

There are lots of ways to sort through tweets.

In the right third area, you have to add a collection where you’ll curate the tweets you want. Hit the plus sign button and get a pop up asking you to name the collection (may be the same name as the project and stream) and to fill out a description. Both of these fields are “public facing” so be thoughtful.

Now you start building your collection. From the tweets in your stream, click on the check mark in the upper right corner to move each one you want to your collection. They are added to the collection in the order you check them off, but you can reorder them later, if need be, by clicking on the button in the top, right corner and dragging and dropping.

When you’re done, click on the cog icon at the top right of the collection area and choose Embed. This essentially creates a Twitter Widget. You’re brought to the Widget page, where there’s now a tab called Collection. You can change any of the default configurations (although in this case, it’s probably unnecessary), then click on Create Widget. An embed code pops up at the bottom of the page. Copy that and paste it into your CMS however is appropriate.

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