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What's the best way to deal with the massive amounts of comments, tweets, likes, photos, articles and things for sale?

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Great essay from Sarah Lacy about machines and people:

On the one hand you have a movement towards curation, which Erin wrote an in-depth post about this morning. Sites like Jetsetter, Fab, NastyGal and many smaller ones Erin mentioned, have found that no computer program can determine quality nor can the user generated content masses, so why try? What the Web misses most today is the human touch...

Ironically just as Erin was publishing her post on curation today, the New York Times published an ode to big data. (Although the Times post utterly missed that not all of the Web is pulling in this direction.)

A handful of companies are using both strategies, for example, Quora. The question and answer site has avoided going the way of Yahoo Answers or Formspring, because of its community guidelines and high quality answers. The quality of answers is determined by a mix of technology and curation.

But at their hearts most companies hew to one approach or another.

So essentially:

Curation is awesome, but it doesn't scale.

Automation scales, but does not lead to awesomeness.

Lacy herself comes out on the side of humans as supplement to machines: "People who slavishly see algorithms as the answer always think you just need a better algorithm... any modern Web company really needs both."

I agree with her.

There's way too much noise out there.

A good curator gives me time and finds me things that deeply improve me.

I agree. Traditional journalism is struggling on one side of this issue, Facebook on the other. It's really hard to provide a high-volume of interesting, personalized content to a large and diverse user base.

I think that the key is to take a hybrid approach and use ever-improving technological tools to empower a relatively small number of curators to provide interesting content for a relatively large set of followers.

A bookmarklet with strong facilities for importing both images and text, as well as basic GIF/video editors would go a long way. Tumblr's tools are amazingly crappy, and yet a small number of people still suffer through the process of using and learning them in order to get followers.

Maybe in the end it's a matter of providing the best tools and distribution for whales, and in turn they provide you with rich, diversified content.

Pinterest and Reddit tools aren't good either, but people suffer through them.

I agree that Tumblr is the worst of breed.

Enabling a small number of passionate curators has worked for all three of them.

Funny, I just wrote about this last night:

I don't want to see what my friends read, I want to see what they care about enough to curate!

Both Ben Casnocha and Ramit Sethi still use Delicious?!

That's an eye opener!

Also an eye opener:

I regularly visit only three of my Google Reader folders: People, Delicious, and Basketball.

You still use Google Reader?!

I gave up RSS long ago -- that time is now filled by Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, Imgur, and 9gag... And, of course, you know. :)

Aw.. I still love my reader lol..

And you, I read Pandawhale every day!

Shayn, I'm flattered!

What do you most look forward to reading in Google Reader each day?

I love reading about fellow Entrepreneurs, Social Media, Current Events, and Tech!

I have a decent size list that I've accumulated over time. For me it's about relevance, what am I working on today? What can I learn? It's about quality, the people I admire and trust. I know if I'm looking for something specific I can search and find it there.

Thanks Shayn -- that makes sense.

I used to check Google Reader on those topics every day, too, but as I got busier that was one of the first apps I dropped because I always felt behind.

The brilliance of Flipboard and Pulse is I can put it away anytime and not feel anxious.

The key with Google Reader is that it is a permanent relationship. The idea is that you want to see most of what comes from a particular source.

Twitter is too much of a firehose to guarantee that I see all the content from a particular source.

My Google Reader is on a crash diet. Hit a high of 600+ feeds, now trying to get to fighting weight in the 400's. Okay, back to culling...


Eric, do you think you could ever get your Google Reader to sub-100?


I *might* be able to get there but I do think my ability to post good content to my blog and Pandawhale as frequently as a I do would be notably compromised.

Point taken, Eric. Stay at 500, please! :)

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