Capturing those golden nuggets of information: the art of digital curation

gold nuggets

Where do I save stuff?

I always used to save items of interest that I happened upon online as favourites. However despite creating folders, in using this system I found retrieving something became harder and harder and I was not always able to find what I was looking for. Add the fact that I tend to use commuting time to and from work to access information via my phone, I was initially sending items by email, to then have to add them as favourites once I got back to my desk top. A further issue was that those favourites were only accessible if I was at that PC. I had another collection on my laptop!

My solution to this issue came about as I began to read about ‘digital curating’. This is a way of being able to select, organise and present online content. This curated content can then also be shared with others. Equally you can benefit by looking at content curated by others. Typically content is organised by themes or topics.


Some simple ways to curate information on social media include:

  • Liking posts on Twitter: Click or tap the heart under the tweet and it will turn red, confirming that you’ve liked the Tweet. You can revisit these by going to your home page and clicking on Likes.
  • Creating lists on Twitter: A list is a curated group of Twitter accounts. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. Viewing a list timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the accounts on that list. To create a list click on your profile icon to show the drop down menu, and then on Lists.
  • Saving items on Facebook: When you save things on Facebook, they’ll appear in your Saved Items that only you can see.
    To view the things you’ve saved: Go to or click Saved in the left menu of your homepage after you’ve saved something.  Click a saved category at the top or click a saved item to view it.
    To save an item see the image below for the different icons to look out for.
    Facebook save

However there are a growing range of curation tools that can be used to curate information in other spaces. I have captured a selection of tools on my Curation page, and below share some of my most used curation tools.

  • allows you to create boards of curated content based on topics you choose, share your thoughts on that content within a text box, and connect with others who have similar interests by following others’ topics.

  • Pinterest:
    Pinterest is described as a visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save creative ideas. In truth you can bookmark anything that has an image on the page. It is also considered a social network that allows users to visually share, and discover new interests by posting (known as ‘pinning’ on Pinterest) images or videos to their own or others’ boards (i.e. a collection of ‘pins,’ usually with a common theme) and browsing what other users have pinned.

  • Diigo:
    Diigo is a social bookmarking tool and has the ability to create cloud based bookmarks that can have tags applied to them. Additional tools allow users to add notes and highlight. Collections can be private or shared publicly.

Where do I find stuff?

As many others do, the Internet is a great source of information, but it can also be quite overwhelming for many. Over time I have developed a network of professional connections in various social media spaces. These include LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and Facebook. These trusted connections share useful stuff in the form of short updates which may also include links to articles, books, websites, videos, podcasts, visual representations in the form of sketches, photos, diagrams, mind maps and more. They act as a filter in a sense as we have shared interests. Of course within my wider array of connections there is still information I need to sift through. Key to successful curation is collecting the right stuff. Don’t fall into the trap of curating everything with the thought you will go back and tidy this up! Organise the information you curate into meaningful topics. Many of the curation tools allow you to have multiple boards or the means to organise topics in folders.

A curation check list 

Marc Rosenburg wrote an excellent post on curating titled From Content Creation to Content Curation: The Importance of Curation which highlights some of the challenges curation can bring. He starts by asking these questions: “So assuming people can find the content, the question is, was the search beneficial? Is the content worthwhile? 

Here are 10 problems Marc suggests you should rule out as you curate your content:

  1. The content is wrong; it never should have been posted in the first place, or it became incorrect and should have been updated or removed.
  2. The content is inauthentic; it’s correct, but not relevant to the users or the work they do.
  3. The content creator is not reputable; the credentials or expertise of the individual(s) who created the content are called into question.
  4. The content is incomplete; much is missing, and the content is fairly useless without additional information.
  5. There is too much content; information overload creates user confusion and mental exhaustion, making it difficult to find what’s really useful.
  6. The content is biased; it reflects the author or creator’s viewpoint in a way that is inappropriate for the designated use.
  7. The content is of low priority or value; the overall usefulness of the content is questionable.
  8. The content is painful to read or learn; the design, formatting, writing style, etc., of the content is not matched to the users or their needs.
  9. The content conflicts with other content; it is hard to know what is correct and what is incorrect.
  10. The content is due to expire; if the content is outdated or due to be replaced, it may not be prudent to maintain or revise the current version (we’ll discuss this more in part three of this series).

What we curate is a personal choice and can relate to our personal interests, professional development, useful resources for our students – and equally can be learning tasks we ask them to complete. Curation is a useful skill to develop. Where you curate your information again is also a personal choice. I’d love to hear about your favourite curation tools.

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New on Sharing Buttons for WhatsApp, Telegram, and Skype News

Our users — and your sites’ visitors — share millions of posts every day across social networks, and today we’re excited to announce sharing buttons for three more services: WhatsApp, Telegram, and Skype.


Here’s how to set up the new buttons:

  1. Go to My Sites → Sharing.
  2. Select the Sharing Buttons tab, and then Edit Sharing Buttons.
  3. Select any of the three new options (in addition to our many other sharing possibilities).

Learn more here, or watch this handy video:

Now, in addition to sharing on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, you can share on some of the world’s most popular messaging apps.

We’re excited to offer these new buttons — and, as always, you can contact us in support if you have more questions.

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VCs in #HigherEd that Tweet


Public domain image: Pixabay

Jisc named the UK higher education social media influencers in December 2015  and in March this year the Further education’s top 50 social media users to follow. Both are worth a visit. The higher education list includes Dominic Shellard, VC at De Montfort University.

Pauk Paceo-Vega PhD introduced #ScholarSunday hashtag as a #FollowFriday for academics to recommend other academic tweeters they value. Whilst useful I’ve not attempted to analyse these tweets to see if any VCs are included – there are a lot of tweets!

The Guardian recently wrote a post called Follow the leaders: the best social media accounts for academics. This article provided a useful list of Twitter accounts who are tweeting about academia under the headings: Twitter humour; tips on writing, teaching and academic life; PhD tips; and news and views. However there was no mention of VCs who tweet.

Do any of our Vice Chancellors tweet?
Well yes they do!

Continue reading

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Using LinkedIn Groups with students and alumni in Higher Education


LinkedIn Groups are where professionals can exchange their knowledge and build relationships. They provide a place for users that have shared interests to engage in discussion, raise questions/find answers, post and view job opportunities, and establish themselves as knowledgeable in their field.

You can find groups to join by using the search feature at the top of your LinkedIn homepage or by viewing suggestions of groups you may like. You can also create a new group focused on a particular topic or industry relevant to you. Group admins (creator of a Group) can choose to review requests to join or ask for additional information to make sure potential new members meet their membership criteria. Membership approval in this case is solely up to the group admins. Groups can be public or unlisted. You must be invited to join an unlisted group. Continue reading

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A social and collaborative approach to annotation: @hypothes_is logo is a free social annotation tool which allows users to discuss, collaborate, organise your research, or take personal notes. Annotating can be public and open to anyone, confined to small groups or used by individuals.

What does the software do?

The elevator pitch is easy.

“Visit a web page, then select some text and annotate with comments or tags. You’ll see those annotations when you return to the page, and so will other Hypothesis users.”

The software leverages annotation to enable sentence-level critique or note-taking on top of news, blogs, scientific articles, books, terms of service, ballot initiatives, legislation and more. It has been summarised as “a peer review layer for the entire Internet. Continue reading

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How to cite social media in academic writing


Referencing and citation is an important part of any writing. This post looks at some recommendations and consideration when citing social media. Citations have several important purposes:

  • to uphold intellectual honesty (or avoiding plagiarism),
  • to attribute prior or unoriginal work and ideas to the correct sources, to allow the reader to determine independently whether the referenced material supports the author’s argument in the claimed way,
  • and to help the reader gauge the strength and validity of the material the author has used. (Wikipedia)

At Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) the Guide to Referencing offers detailed guidance for producing citations and references according to the Harvard method in the Harvard-SHU style recommended by the library. You may be asked to use another method, or a variation of the Harvard style. If this is the case, you may wish to refer to guidance that matches this style. However the recommendations below provide useful pointers to consider when citing social media and personal communications. Continue reading

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Twitter at 10 and the evolution of the Twitter logo

@jack's sketch


The first tweet

Co-founder Dorsey sent the first tweet, on March 21, 2006 which said “Just setting up my twttr”. You will note that the original name for Twitter was Twttr.
(Image source:



The Twitter Logo

To date the Twitter logo has had three iterations. Initially when Twitter launched in 2006, the Twitter bird did not feature at all. This was introduced in 2010 alongside the written name.

Twitter logo

July 15, 2006 – September 14, 2010.

Twitter logo

September 14, 2010 – June 5, 2012.

Twitter logo

June 5, 2012–present

However in 2012, Twitter as a brand were firmly placed as one of the top social media alongside the likes of Facebook. The bird had become synonymous with Twitter and the decision to drop the text and just use the bird as the logo was made. The Twitter bird also lost it’s quiff, has fewer feathers and looks up with an open beak. For me this current iteration symbolises that Twitter empowers all users to have a free and open voice.

Twitter describe the new logo as follows:

“Our new bird grows out of love for ornithology, design within creative constraints, and simple geometry. This bird is crafted purely from three sets of overlapping circles — similar to how your networks, interests and ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends. Whether soaring high above the earth to take in a broad view, or flocking with other birds to achieve a common purpose, a bird in flight is the ultimate representation of freedom, hope and limitless possibility.”


The video demonstrates both simplicity and clarity.  Twitter says the new bird is “crafted purely from three sets of overlapping circles — similar to how your networks, interests and ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends.”

The current icon can be seen on the sign outside Twitter Headquarters in San Francisco.

Twitter Headquarters

“Twitter’s San Francisco Headquarters” by MatthewKeys. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikipedia


Does the Twitter bird really have a name?

Rumour has it that the Twitter bird did have a name and this is Larry. The Twitter icon now recognised across the globe, may have been named after former NBA player, Larry Bird, who played for Twitter co-founder Biz Stone’s home-state team, the Boston Celtics. Ryan Sarver a former Twitter employee shared this tweet:

Twitter themselves have also previously made reference to the name Larry:



The Twitter bird has become the focal point of Twitter’s branding and is for many instantly recognisable. It stands with the likes of Apple and Nike who also have no text in their logo. Today the Twitter brand policy guidelines are fastidious about the way the Twitter name and logo should be used.


• Use our official, unmodified Twitter bird to represent our brand.
• Make sure the bird faces right.
• Allow for at least 150% buffer space around the bird.

There are also guidelines on the colour palettes. The font used is primarily the Gotham Narrow family.

colour swatchescolour palettes


• Use speech bubbles or words around the bird.
• Rotate or change the direction of the bird.
• Animate the bird.
• Duplicate the bird.
• Change the colour of the bird.
• Use any other marks or logos to represent our brand.

logo donts

Celebrating 200 million active users

In 2013 Twitter created a video caled ‘Celebrating #Twitter7’ for Twitter’s 7th birthday. This provides a nice visual history of key developments and ways Twitter has been used.

Since @jack first tweeted in 2006, Twitter has become a global town square. Thanks to all of you, our open, real-time platform is thriving: well over 200 million active users send more than 400 million Tweets every day. Here’s to your creativity, curiosity and experimentation on our platform. We’re gratified that so many millions of you have made Twitter yours. Thank you.

Twitter at 10 2006-2016

Over the last 10 years Twitter has definitely taken flight and is now used across the globe. Again Twitter capture key moments and these demonstrate the diverse ways the communication tool has been used.


 Other Twitter icons

Early users of Twitter will be familiar with the ‘Whale Fail’ icon that came up on the screen when Twitter went down due to technical issues.

Twitter fail whale

Twitter fail whale

More recently and less frequently the image below appears when Twitter is down

Something is technically wrong

Something is technically wrong


More about Twitter

Twitter blog:


Jack Dorsey:


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A cautionary tale and how to remove an unwanted connection on LinkedIn


I’ve been a member of LinkedIn since early 2008 and until last week have never had the need to dis-connect with anyone. The connection request in question was one that I received from an individual whose profile stated that he was the Head of Marketing at a large well known organisation. I teach digital marketing and frequently share information about social media, so this request did raise any warning bells. Whilst I did not know the person, my initial skim of his profile and the usual header and summary section, provided sufficient information for me to make the decision to accept the invite to connect. It was only later that day when I received an email through LinkedIn from this person, that I thought something was not quite right… Continue reading

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LinkedIn snakes or ladders? How to enhance (or lessen) the value of your profile

snakes or ladders

I created this ‘snakes or ladders?’ visual as a focus for an activity to use with students to get them to consider some of the key steps that can be taken to enhance a LinkedIn profile, and at the same time consider aspects that could be less valuable or indeed negative.

The full visual can be found below along with useful links to resources on LinkedIn help that provide guidance to implement the enhancement points I have picked out. Continue reading

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8 key steps to building a personal learning network inspired by @hrheingold

Howard Rheingold

Howard Rheingold @hrheingold

Whilst doing research in preparation for a keynote presentation at the University of Cambridge on the theme of ‘making connections’ I happened upon a series of tweets from Howard Rheingold. Howard has played a significant part in my digital learning journey. I have had the privilege of taking part in online courses he has facilitated, read his books and articles, as well as enjoyed many opportunities to listen in to live and recorded webinars and presentations. These experiences have lighted the curious within me and given me the confidence to explore, experiment, play, reflect and share what I have learned and encourage others to do so too.

Over the last seven years or so I have discovered how to use social media to connect with other educators and over time developed networks that have enabled and empowered my own approach to engaging with informal learning. These networks often lead on to new learning communities and collaborative projects. Some are time limited and others continue. Geographical boundaries cease to exist as we can make connections online across the world. Communication may be in real time or as and when we can pick up the messages and respond.

Learning how to use social media effectively as an educator is one of those light bulb moments. You realise the potential but then discover there is a whole load of stuff you have yet to learn to catch up with those who have already been doing it for some time. Building a personal learning network is the most important thing you can do to help you on this journey. Yes it is a journey and it does take time, but you will gain so much from this investment. The network you build will provide you with the signposts to valuable information; a pool of educators you can communicate with and ask questions of; and a rich collection of spaces you can explore to take the conversations you are interested in to new levels.

I’d like to share Howard’s eight recommendations for developing a personal learning network. Each one resonates with me and whilst the tools may change the concepts hold strong.

  1. Explore
  2. Search
  3. Follow
  4. Tune
  5. Feed
  6. Engage
  7. Inquire
  8. Respond

Here are my thoughts on each which focus on the use of Twitter as a space for developing a personal learning network (PLN).  That’s not to say this is the only space to do this as there are other online social network spaces and any of these have the potential to add to the networks we build face to face.

  • Explore – as you begin to follow like-minded educators, take a look at who they are following. Check out the individual’s bio – what does it tell you? What are they tweeting about.
  • Search  take note of shared hashtags and put this in the search bar. These could indicate tweets shared at a conference e.g. #HEASTEM16, or a weekly tweetchat e.g. #LTHEchat, #HEAchat, EDENchat.
  • Follow – as you increase the number of people you follow, organise them into lists. This can help you to zoom into conversations from specific groups of people.
  • Tune – it is ok to unfollow people who don’t bring value to your feed. People use Twitter in different ways. If these conversations are not interesting or useful, then simply stop listening to them.
  • Feed – share information that you happen upon that you feel will resonate with those that follow you. It is quick and easy to click the share button when reading or listening to something interesting.
  • Engage – interact with others by responding to their tweets. Whilst brevity is key, many a useful conversation can take place.
  • Inquire – reach out to others and ask questions. Know when it is good to take exchanges to direct message and perhaps on to an email or phone call.
  • Respond – don’t simply broadcast. Listen for responses and in turn respond to these. The conversation is richer if it is two-way and we listen and answer questions raised.

Below are the tweets Howard shared in 2011. I hope you find them as useful as I do.











Further resources

If you have not had the opportunity or want to re-look at Howard’s work, I highly recommend the following as starting points. Howard is a very generous open practitioner and someone we can all learn from as lifelong and lifewide learners.

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