how to:How To Effectively Use Social Publishing Sites
A new style of social media site allows users to filter through their newsfeeds in order to create specifically curated stories, posts, and profiles.
Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites have already given people plenty of ways to share their thoughts and generate content online. In fact, ironically, the content generated by social media can be too much for users to sort through. In response, another style of website—the social publishing site—has arisen to help Internet surfers filter through their newsfeeds in order to create specifically curated stories, posts, and profiles.
Steve Rosenbaum of Mashable writes that with these publishing sites, “It’s about focus, and voice, and giving content and domain experts the ability to find and publish a ‘narrowcast’ paper that a small group of enthusiastic readers will enjoy.”
Choose the social publishing site best for both you content and your audience. Three of the most popular are paper.li, Storify, and Pinterest. Each is unique, catering to a different style of curator.
Paper.li creates virtual newspapers from selected tweets, videos, links, and searches. This style makes it great for the blogger who works with news and developing stories. Paper.li allows the creator to name the paper, add an editor’s note, and choose how often to automatically update the content. Curators can also promote or delete stories and sections in the virtual paper.
Storify is fantastic for those who wish to quickly create blog posts based in social media (for more info read our guide: How to Curate and Create Stories frmo the web using Storify). In fact, you may have noticed that here at Movements.org, we use Storify to create our Digital Activism Daily. Storify allows the curator to compile select Tweets, FB posts, videos, links, and images into one story. You can add specific Tweets by searching a user’s timeline, or you can conduct a Twitter search while still working in Storify. Once you’ve found what you’re looking for, you simply drag the story bit across the window into your blank story box. This makes gathering content a very clean and swift process. Rearranging content is simple, as is adding a title. Then, simply publish your story and embed the provided code into your website as a post.
Pinterest is designed for the blogger who has primarily visual content to share. Think of it as an online corkboard onto which you can pin anything you find interesting. The content you’ve pinned—your pinboard—becomes your profile on Pinterest. Other users may comment, share, and repin your pins to their own board. The site promotes itself as a visually-appealing way to save inspiration, plan an event, or even decorate a home. As of publication, Pinterest is still in beta and requires an invitation, which can be requested here.
Once you’ve chosen which social publishing site you will use, carefully choose the right content and scope for your audience.
On paper.li, for instance, it’s probably not a good idea to try to cover the day’s events from across the globe; the national newspapers already do that job. Instead, focus on one very specific issue or hyperlocal area—something that you may, indeed, cover best because of your experience, knowledge, or available time. Remember that you’re not writing the stories: you’re compiling them from social media posts by other people.
Storify makes creating a post very easy and quick, but that does not mean you shouldn’t put thought into it. Try taking the extra time that the site is saving you and devoting it to extra research. Instead of taking the first tweet you find that matches your topic, spend a minute looking for other sources or angles. There are innumerable pieces of content out there, and though these sites help you sort through them, they don’t just hand you the best ones.
On Pinterest, keep your content attractive, balanced, and specific. Some photos you find may be timeless, but others may pertain to an issue or event that has passed. Don’t be afraid to update your pinboard, but remember to keep an aesthetic that is recognizable to your followers. If you’re known as the vegan recipe guy, avoid pinning photos from the fronts in Libya.