The web created pages we wanted to return to, so browsers began saving local bookmarks. Then came the likes of Delicious which allowed people to share their favourite sites and pages. A few years later Twitter revolutionised the way we share content and site links. Twitter Favorites allowed us to “remember” favourite tweets in a sort of stream of consciousness. Now curated.by, currently in closed beta, bridges the gap between Twitter Favorites and social bookmarking.
It can be briefly described as a way of storing and sharing favorite tweets in “sub folders” (bundles).
The underlying premise is that curated.by allows people to curate and share lists of Twitter favorites around topics of particular interest.
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Twitter favorites has long been the only way to easily remember and share Tweets of interest. It’s biggest downside is that it presents like a stream of consciousness – an expurgated version of Twitter which suffers from the constraint of being very much about the most recent tweet (i.e. top of the page).
How does it work?
Curated.by allows the user to create “bundles” of tweets which are similar to folders of favorites. Users can curate (i.e. add tweets to a bundle) either in the website itself using multi-column view of your timeline – the Bundler …
… or by adding the Google Chrome extension which will add a “Curate” button to your regular Twitter web view.
The bundle can be tagged for easy searching and can be set to either public (i.e. shareable) or private. Here’s an example of a bundle of mine – TNW Sample Bundle.
The site also provides embed code – a great feature for bloggers and something that will quickly embed it into the Twitter ecosystem.
When viewing a bundle, the user can “like” tweets, add comments (which can be tweeted) and there is a button to “Share” which is not yet activated.
What doesn’t it do?
It’s early days so its expected that there may be one or two kinks and a few obvious features not yet developed. Mostly, it needs to make the ability to curate tweets more ubiquitous. It’s a fair assumption that the Bundler, although slick, is unlikely to become a Twitter reader of choice.
The Chrome extension is a great way of making it easy for people who use the regular Twitter web client but that leaves out a massive audience – Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, etc. Curated.by should be looking to find a series of high profile launch partners as well as publish an API which would allow lesser known clients to embed curated.by functionality. There is talk of an API on the about pages so I imagine this is already in the pipeline.
It also should not overlook mobile. Twitter’s stats earlier this week emphasised the strength of the mobile platform. Apps for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android should be released sooner rather than later. I often use Twitter favorites to bookmark articles for later reading and I can easily envisage doing this on curated.by.
I also think the ability for groups of people to own / curate a bundle rather than just individuals is an obvious feature. It’s the logical next step of the type of functionality that HootSuite and CoTweet bring to posting tweets.
There are also a few features which curated.by admits are on the way, specifically the “Share” link on a tweet in a bundle and the ability for a user to see whether their own tweets have been included in a bundle.
I can easily imagine curated.by becoming an integral part of the Twitter ecosystem. It’s the first way that I know of to easily and elegantly curate content I’d want to either share or just remember for myself. It brings together the elegance of Twitter, the relevance of social bookmarking and the natural instinct to sort and categorise to help make sense of a mass of data.