Content for a cohesive social experience

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Turn back the clock to autumn 2004, my first term at the University of Oregon. I can picture sitting at my dorm room desk logging in to a perplexing new thing called (The) Facebook for the first time. On first impression, it was a social media Utopia. The readers and publishers were folks I could relate with, college kids posting ideas that fit the social mold of life in your late teens, early twenties. However, in retrospect I realize how much stronger social networking has grown once it became far less of an exclusive club, and more democratic to the user experience. Family, friends and even businesses are now welcome to engage, creating a far more well-rounded space for forward-thinking.

Today, my social space is all grown up – no longer engulfed with mundane themes that remind me of college life. In a forum where anyone and everyone can be a publisher, my timeline stays brimming with content that caters to both traditional and newfound interests, layered with breadth and substance, with posts from those scattered across the globe I consider to have valuable social influence. When choosing whom or what enters my timeline I often consider, is the discourse and commentary brought to the table enlightening? Did I learn something and process a healthy thought triggered by the content shared? Do I trust these chosen influencers will exemplify quality over quantity and continue to publish gold?

These are the questions I dwell on when considering the value of the time and data I burn on Facebook, and that goes for anyone I choose to follow on all social media platforms. I treat friends on social media the same as I would an RSS reader–I simply won’t continue to subscribe if I don’t find the content published interesting and worthwhile. And by content, I mean anything that throws data into the deep wilderness of the internet–videos and articles, or more constrained media, such as rants, integrated Instagram pics, Vine clips, etc. Anytime I reach a tipping point contemplating leaving a social network, I know personalization–despite the tediousness of weeding out bad apples–will always make the experience more meaningful. The moment my timeline shifts into a forum of bickering about first-world problems, real-time errand-running updates, or barrages of cat-baby-food pics, I know all it takes is one click to hide and unsubscribe to make any voice disappear. This is social democracy at its finest. I choose exactly what I want to see.

However, not all voices on social media are this conveniently avoidable, and it’s a growing frustration in our social spaces. In the past few years, it’s become clear that not all the discardable data that filters through our timelines comes from friends we’ve accepted into our social communities. We’ve been forced to make room for a more business-minded social experience as brands now account for a substantial presence on social networks. It’s unique in the fact that brand presence doesn’t just float around the edges of our web page, able to be easily ignored. It’s scrutinized far more closely because it surfaces within our social feeds, interrupting the fluidity of the user experience. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, even if Facebook plans to force video advertisements à la YouTube–it’s up each individual publisher and the content it curates to steer the perception one way or the other. Is the content that a brand publishes driven to engage and entice, or will it be perceived as intrusive – an interrupting roadblock?

Fortunately, not all brands today are coming across as intrusive after purchasing a piece of prime real estate within our social feeds. It’s actually a breath of fresh air to witness brands doing it the right way – ditching efforts to bombard an audience with product-centric pitches that are blatantly thirsty for a sale. Forget the pop-up, billboard-esque methodology–we are not moths simply drawn in to whatever makes our screen glow. It’s far more desirable to discover a brand willing to stir the pot and dive into the relevant conversations that make social media great. Rather than solely emphasizing sponsored/suggested posts around sales pitches, brands are joining the ranks as a trusted influencers – and it all starts with the selected and curated content they publish and the human voice they establish.

The question then becomes, where does a brand look to discover the right content to drive home its point, to make its voice crystal clear, and to visualize the angles to effectively engage with its audience? That’s where Trapit’s Content Curation Center can help, empowering any given brand with the ability to discover, engage, and publish with ease.


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