Content farming vs. curation

Sometimes, bloggers mistake content farming for curation.

Content farms snag entire articles and stories from other sites and post them as their own. At first blush, it may seem the same as curation; after all, curators collate other content from across the Web. The difference? The curator is adding something of value to the collection process.

Take the Internet Vision, a site set up by a Yahoo! account executive. This site contains articles from a variety of high-profile sites. But it’s not just links or summaries of the articles; these are the full articles with photos and graphics. He adds nothing to the original article. He is presenting it as his own.

Though he does link to the original site in the author byline, the sense as a reader — once you’ve discovered the charade — is disillusionment and anger.

BrainCompare that experience to Brain Pickings, a menagerie of Web content from blogger Maria Popova. The posts contain copious links and quotations of other material; she adds value with her interpretation and understanding of that content. She shares with us why she finds that content valuable — the sign of a true curator.

Good curators don’t just grab content and claim it as their own. They gather, prune, and showcase it in such a way that presentation itself has meaning and depth.

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