The multitude of social networks and tools available today can be daunting. It feels like the world is fragmenting more and more. But there are tools that make it possible to connect these dots, to find people with shared interests and to zero in on the information that is most relevant to you.
One of my favorite new examples is Scoop.it! A tool that allows you to boookmark items of interest on the web and display them in a visually attractive “newsletter” that is easy to scan. Scoop-it! is still in an by-invitation beta phase*, but when I searched the terms agriculture and food today, I already found 26 existing topics related to agriculture and 188 related to food. So how can you use this tool and how do you link it up with your presence elsewhere on line?
This extract from the Food Issues Scoop.it! shows how easy it is to read the attractively laid-out content. A simple click takes you to the full text of the original article.
So how can you use this tool for networking and knowledge management?
To make this article as accessible as possible, I am writing these guidelines with the assumption that you do not want to have your own Scoop-it account. My next article will give more advanced guidelines on creating your own Scoop-it topic and following other Scoopers once you have an account yourself.
1. Find out what people are talking about — By searching the existing topics that people are already compiling and sharing, you can stumble on a lot of great new material. Scoop.it allows you to search all topics by keywords. As you type, it will suggest topics that contain that string of letters in the title. Hitting the search button will extend the search to topics that contain the keyword in subtitle. For example, a search for “agriculture” suggests “The Future of Agriculture and Food” and “Environment and Agriculture” in the live mode. Once you hit the search button, the results include 26 topics, including my “Seeds of Sustainability” Scoop-it that is described as “Inspiring resilient business leadership in food and agriculture”.
2. Subscribe to follow the topics that interest you most — Once you’ve identified collections that correspond to your interests, there are several ways to receive updates. You can click on the “Follow” button to receive e-mail updates. If you use an RSS reader, you can subscribe to the topic’s feed. You can also easily find the author on Twitter and follow him/her there.
3. Share topics that you like — Scoop-it makes it easy to share articles that you like with other people. When you click on the Share button (shown here) at the bottom of any article, you are given the choice between sharing it on Twitter, Facebook or copying the link. To share the entire newsletter, copy the web address in the URL bar of your navigator or click the text “Share” button at the top of the page, under the header to share the entire topic via Facebook or Twitter.
4. Suggest items for inclusion in a topic you follow — The suggest button at the top of the page allows you to submit teh URL address of a webpage you think the topic curator would find interesting. This is a good passive way for beginners to start building a network. Be careful to respect the description of the topic. For example, I don’t include all agricultural topics in my “Seeds of Sustainability” Scoop-it. I am really looking for examples of people who are trying to think creatively about making agriculture more sustainable. I’m not interested in business-as-usual or dogmatic pieces about organic vs. conventional practices. What interests me is people who are experimenting and demonstrating leadership.
My next post about Scoop-it will talk about how you can use the tool actively to create a topic and curate it.
* You can request an invitation. After you have been using Scoop-it! for a few days, you are given 10 invitations to distribute at will.