Too many toys to choose from

I had planned on playing with Voicethread for this latest assignment because I had already had experience with most of the other suggested social tools.  The two tools that I had no experience with were Library 2.0 and Scoop.it.  Upon investigating Library 2.0 I realized it was using a Ning platform which I was familiar with so I turned my attention to Scoop.it.

Scoop.it is promoted as a method to aggregate and curate information found on the web.  Users, or curators as they are called, create topics which they then provide keywords for.  Scoop.it uses these keywords to search resources on the internet which are then aggregated on a “Suggested Content” page for each topic created.  Curators then choose, or curate, which articles they want to add to their topic.

I could not help but to compare Scoop.it to Pinterest as I began organizing and curating my own topics. Scoop.it has “Topics” while Pinterest has “Boards.”  Both social tools have a bookmarking button that you can add to your browser’s toolbar.  Both social tools are similar in that they aggregate information for you.  Pinterest does this in a couple of different ways:  you can look at the content of pinners that you follow, or you can look at Pinterest’s subject list under their “Everything” tab and choose one of their suggestions.  Scoop.it does this differently in that it uses keywords to aggregate information which seems helpful until you realize that you do not know if you are using keywords that will find you the results that you want.

Where both tools seem to differ is in the presentation of content.  Scoop.it is formatted so that it appears like you are reading an electronic magazine.  You can read whatever tagline that the curator adds to the “scoop” and if you find it interesting you can follow the link to the original content.  From what I have observed among the friends that I follow, Pinterest seems to be used mainly for adding and browsing pictures of clothing, or decorating ideas, or pictures of must try recipes.  This is not to say that Pinterest does not have the capacity for being a place that can be used for more serious content, because I have found boards where the content focused on learning.  These boards are difficult to find within Pinterest however, and I find it easier to locate them using a Google search.

I had originally created my Pinterest account because I was looking for a more interesting way to organize my bookmarks rather than keeping them in an uninteresting list.  I was also looking for an alternative to my RSS reader for the same reason; too many lists and not enough visuals.  I found myself too distracted by all of the images in Pinterest however, to use it effectively.  Organizing my boards was also a problem because it is difficult if you want to reorganize which I did a few times.  Pinterest also seems to be utilized by more women than men which makes the content a bit too (I’m not going to say girly although I’m thinking it) female centric.

Now that I have worked with Scoop.it for the past two day I find that I like it better than Pinterest.  I like the way that it is formatted plus I like that it suggests content that I have found useful.  Another advantage with Scoop.it is that its aggregators go out and look for content on the internet rather than just pulling from their user’s content.

As for it being a substitution for my RSS reader, I am not sure yet.  It doesn’t let you know when a blog has posted new content.  It does allow you to follow the topics of other users, and pull from that aggregated list, but I’m not sure that I really need more content on top of all of the feed I am already subscribed to.  There is such a thing as too much information.  I do think that it could be useful for bookmarking and I am going to stay with it for a while for that reason and see if I like it.

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