Curated.by is one of the new breed of web curation applications. It makes it simple to curate tweets into a focused stream on any topic, cutting out the noise from an increasingly chatter-filled @twitter experience. I like it. I like it a lot.
I love Twitter. It’s my primary news source. I feel like know some people on Twitter better than I know most of the regulars in McGing’s. But the problem with Twitter is the noise. There are some who use it instead of a chat app. There are others that emit drivel most of the time but occasionally come out with pearls. There are still others that hide the gems so fastidiously that the Unfollow button is the only option.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just view a stream of the best bits, the edited highlights, the Match of the Day “Goal of the Month”?
Curation apps like Curated.by will, I hope, help to solve this problem.
Online, curation is massive. It’s the talk du jour of the news-geek world. Whichever company can crack this elusive concept and make it simple to collect interesting bits of the web into a focused stream has the chance to make it very, very big. @Curatedby is one of the foremost startups in this tech space.
According to CrunchBase, @Curatedby describes itself as the “Smithsonian for the real-time web”. Big talk. It says it allows users to “collect and organize tweets into topic based streams that can be shared or embedded anywhere. You can use curated.by to capture a conversation, embed testimonial tweets on your blog, or simply to bookmark your most favorite tweets.”
I think that’s a fairly accurate picture of what @Curatedby is.
After a simple signup, you create a “bundle”, its term for a focused stream of tweets. You’re directed to the Bundler, the key point of the @Curatedby experience. Here you can add tweets to your bundle, viewing your stream in a very similar way to #NewTwitter. Search, mentions, lists and more are as you expect them. You can just drag and drop updates into the bundle and annotate them to add context.
But, for me, the killer feature is the Chrome Extension (pictured below). After you’ve installed this simple application a “Curate” link appears next to “Reply” in the twitter.com interface. I use it all the time. @Curatedby’s CEO Bastian Lehman (@Basti) says that a Safari bundler is on the way.
There’s also a great iPad-oriented mobile service. I don’t have a tablet yet but I’ve found myself logging into m.curated.by for extended Twitter viewing when I’m at a machine without Chrome. I’ve found, however, that sometimes the timeline in the Bundler and iPad site doesn’t go back far enough or has breaks. The Chrome extension solves that.
My biggest issue with the service is the poor quality of the embed, the piece of tech that links your stream to your website and lets people who don’t use the service see what you’re doing. It’s not often you get the ear of the CEO when you submit feedback but @Basti responded to my request for an improved embed design within minutes. He assures me that this is on the way. In fact he said: “We will have a complete new website including widget and embed next week. We will then have two widgets – a small one and a nice one as a story embed.”
He also says that auto-RTing of bundled tweets, the ability to add tweets to the bundle with a hashtag, and a “magic box that will allow you to drop any content into a bundle”, whatever that means, are on the way too. @Curatedby’s developer Sam Street (@samwirah) must be a busy boy.
I like the attitude of this startup. Suggestions are actively pursued, comments answered quickly. They obviously want to create a fabulous tool. Their previous experience with the ahead-of-its-time Zensify has stood them in good stead.
I tweeted them last week, wondering about greyed-out options on their Bundler interface, hinting at Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Google integration. “We don’t have a date yet but soon!” was the reply. Seems like they’re moving into Storify’s space. @Storify should be worried.
I really love this new app. It’s the best Twitter app I’ve discovered since Twitter itself, In fact I think Twitter should buy this company and include its features. Hopefully it won’t just do as it has done in the past and simply recreate the feature itself, killing the ecosphere it so carefully built, moving Facebook-like to squash innovation and make as much money as possible.
Don’t be evil, Twitter. These guys are good.
I’ve got two invites to @Curatedby to give away, All beta users get three but one of mine is promised. If you want one, tweet me.
Disclosure: I didn’t write the headline for this article. It’s a quote from @Scobleizer