Curation is the Future

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the need for curation services online. The amount of content we are exposed to daily is out of control. Outside of personal communication content (email, text, photos, instagrams, facebook posts and messages, etc) we consume an amazing amount of content daily online. Sorting through all the content at our fingertips is at worst impossible and at best overwhelming.

The amount of content served to us online is ridiculous!

The amount of content served to us online is ridiculous!

One set of curation tools is our personal network. Links are recommended via email. Videos are posted to facebook. Articles are tweeted. Some content is specifically recommended for us, and some is blasted out indiscriminately. These are all sources for content, but what truly excites me is the emergence of standalone curation services. By that, I mean services that are built for curation, not a friend emailing you a link to a funny video.

Several standalone content curation services already impress me. The first is the app Prismatic, an outstanding app that surfaces content (mostly print articles) based off your social presence online. I check in with Prismatic a few times a day and am ALWAYS met with interesting articles. Another tool I love is Devour, which hand picks the best new video content. Devour’s content is edgy, and shows how human led curation remains far better than algorithms. These two services use very different strategies to successfully recommend content. While Prismatic bases their recommendations off my tastes, Devour’s curation is based of their tastes.

Some content farms have in-house curation tools. My NYTimes digital front page is different from yours, tailored to my past clicks and interests. The same can be said for my youtube homepage. However, the intention of any in-house curation tools is to keep you in-network, maximizing your time spent on THEIR site. That is why I love content curation services that are unaffiliated from content farms. They are selfless. They are exciting. They serve me with personalized content, which I sure do love to consume.

Everyone loves to consumer online

Everyone loves to consumer online

The emergence of these tools will have a variety of effects. For the consumer, it offers a promise of premium content. However, as these tools further democratize the net, curation services will put additional pressure on established producers to create GREAT content. With so much noise, good just won’t cut through anymore.




30-Second Rewind Button Update: Hulu Redesign

Apparently, media/technology industry higher-ups read my blog. Yay.

Last week, Hulu released a major redesign. I quite enjoy it. The redesign is slick and relatively easy to navigate.

However, I want to quickly point out a major addition to their core product, Hulu’s video player. Hulu has added a 10-second rewind button!!

I love the small, set-quantity rewind button. It makes viewing much easier, as in a slow or dull moment I can open Twitter, ESPN, or Gmail quickly, check for any urgent notifications, and switch back to the video. Then, I simply hit the rewind button if desired, and I haven’t missed a step! No more clicking blindly along the unmarked video timeline.

Thoughts going forward:

1) What other intelligent viewing features will be introduced? Maybe ones pertaining to advertisements?

Spotify is intelligent enough that if an advertisement is playing, and I (the user) mute my computer, the ad pauses. I am FORCED into listening. Annoying? Yes. Consumer experience sensitive? No. Smart business decision? Perhaps. I wonder if video players like Hulu will eventually be “intelligent” enough that it will sense when I switch tabs, pausing the commercial and forcing me to watch in entirety. Interesting possibility….

2) YouTube

Will YouTube introduce a similar product? I like what they’ve done recently with their transcription tool. It’s rough but very usable. Maybe we will see a set quantity rewind button in YouTube soon? I hope so. The feature seems especially fitting for a short form video platform like YouTube, where distraction is rampant and occurs often.

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The 30-Second Rewind Button: A Story Of Love

I love multitasking online. Who doesn’t? Constantly distracted, I am always chasing links down virtual rabbit holes, only to resurface 20 minutes later possessing a surprising amount of knowledge about Vladimir Putin (substitute random interest).

It does not matter when something comes to mind, I will open a new tab to explore it. I could be watching a movie, reading an article, or scanning tweets. Once something pings my interest, I am off and running, exploring the depths of information available online. Slowly but surely I work my way back to the starting point.

I am part of a generation of multitaskers! We text in class. We Facebook while watching tv. We listen to music while doing anything and everything. Any tool that makes this multitasking easier is of great interest to me. That is why I LOVE the 30-second rewind button.

The 30-Second Rewind Button

The 30 Second Rewind Button

This button makes it incredibly easy to go back when I get distracted and miss a few seconds of action!…Which happens constantly.

Lately I have been watching videos through a friend’s Xfinity account, Comcast’s online tv system (which works great). I use the hell out of the 30-second button, as I am constantly opening up new tabs. On these fresh tabs I do anything from checking facebook/email/twitter/espn to researching the historical context for something I am watching. Heck, if I’m watching a comic book movie I might go read the Wikipedia page about the guy who first thought up Batman.

If this button is so convenient it does beg the question, why doesn’t YouTube have it? An excellent question, to which I have an inclination. As the most widely used viewing platform online, I am sure YouTube’s product teams has explored it, but found it to not be relevant. Also, I think it is more useful for a long-form content viewing platform like Xfinity (where I watch tv shows and movies) rather than a short-form platform like YouTube (where I watch mostly clips). YouTube has also gone through many iterations, perhaps the 30-second rewind button existed in a previous one.

SIDENOTE: I also wanted to comment on a new feature that YouTube is testing now. On some of their videos, a new button will appear. Just below the video is a transcription button. It displays an interactive script of the clip.

The Transcription button is under his hand next to the flag. Btw, watch the clip, actually quite hilarious “Louis CK – Single People”

I love the feature, despite the moderate level of mistakes in the transcription. However, fine tuning to perfection a blanket speech software for a content library as large and diverse as YouTube’s would be a near impossible feat.

I am reaching out to people from YouTube to see if I can get a comment about the 30-second rewind and if they ever considered including it in their product. Will update if I hear.
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