Archiving the Ephemeral

In addition to using Inoreader to manage my student blog network, I am also using Inoreader to curate my own online activity, and in this page I'll explain just exactly how I do that!

The Problem, Part One: Archiving. How can I make sure that ephemeral content (for me that means mostly Google+ and Twitter) ends up in a more permanent archive, something easy to access later on? The content I publish in my blogs is easy to search later, plus I can link to it, and it's also easy to back up locally. So, my (many) blogs are a good content repository. That is also true, more or less, of Diigo: good access, easy to back up. Pinterest is something in-between; I don't like the fact that Pinterest does not offer a good local back-up, but it's still useful as a repository of content, more or less easy to access, with easy links to individual items.

The Problem, Part Two: But Not Everything. A lot of ephemeral content does NOT need to be archived. That's why automated solutions (like IFTTT and its ilk) are not really useful for me. For example, I tried having every Google+ item crosspost to Diigo, but that was just silly — it cluttered up my Diigo with all kinds of links that were not really useful, including lots of duplication and overlap with what I already had posted in my blogs. Sure, I do use Google+ as a kind of blogging platform, but I also use it in other ways, too, and a lot of my G+ posts for just-for-fun ephemera that I don't need to keep. That's even more true at Twitter where each statement in a conversation is posted separately (about that, I say: ugh... but that's how Twitter works).

The Solution: I have subscribed to all my online activity using Inoreader. That includes my blogs, my two Twitter accounts, my Google+ account, my Diigo (based on a specific Diigo label), and Pinterest (screwy as the Pinterest RSS has turned out to be). As those items come in to Inoreader (and end up in my personal "omnifeed"), I assign a special label "notbookmarked" to those items that come in from Twitter and Google+. These items them accumulate, and I process them when I have time (ideally, at the end of each work day, but if a few days' worth pile up, it's no problem). I remove the "notbookmarked" label when I have decided on a curation strategy. Some of these include:
  • Ignore it. For ephemera that don't need to be preserved, I just remove the "notbookmarked" label. Done.
  • Change label. I might add the label "donews" which lets me know I need to include the item in my weekly news round-up at the OU Digital Tools blog or at my new quotes round-up (that is a new kind of post I now do because it is now easy thanks to Inoreader labels!).
  • Pin in Pinterest. This is something I do for many of the items that come through my Twitter, especially the images and other online resources that I tweet in relation to my classes.
  • Bookmark with Diigo. This is a good solution for the professional resources online that I keep track of but which are not exactly news round-up material.
As a result of working through the items (as many as a hundred on a busy day) and deciding how to dispose of them, I am able to feel confident that I am keeping what I need to keep in a way that will be accessible to me later on. Note also that these are all public solutions: anybody who wants to can follow my blogs or my Diigo or my Pinterest. I'm not quite sure who would want to do that, but it's all public. Searchable by me, or by anyone. :-)

So, three cheers for public curation! And yes, blogging is at the heart of my curation strategy. For some thought-provoking ideas about curation, and especially about blogging-as-curation, see this great new post over at Langwitches, which includes this wonderful graphic: Blogging as a Curation Platform.

Blogging as Curation Platform