Curating Sustainable Solutions

Curating Sustainable Solutions

As I have said in previous posts, managing the stream of green communications info online is not easy. My attempts thus far have been the Green Communicators list on Twitter and the Green Communications bundle on Google Reader. They're not perfect, but they're where I go to get the news I need.

But that's the large end of the funnel (see crude artwork to the left). Once you have identified the stream of information coming in (although you're never really done, the stream must be constantly managed), how do you present it on the other end? What does the small end of the funnel look like?

Let's put this another way. For the sake of the argument, pretend that my two lists above are the complete and best sources for information on green communications (I know that's a big stretch, but stay with me). Even with that stream of information gathered in two places, it still represents 49 feeds and 128 twitterers. That's a lot for anyone to wade through, which would explain why only 16 people have subscribed to the Google Reader bundle and 35 people are following the Twitter list.

The next stage is curating the content, which is the subject of the latest AdAge column from Steve Rubel. "Digital curation," says Rubel, "will be the next big thing to shake the web. There's an evergreen need for those who can separate art from junk online. However, in this era, journalists won't be the only ones to fulfill it. Brands...can play here too." (HT to FM)

Rubel lists a handful of companies who are doing digital curation. The one that struck me as the most interesting is IBM's use of Tumblr to curate ideas for a smarter planet. However, I like their use of the application in Smarter Cities even better.

There is a great opportunity here for brands to curate sustainable solutions relevant to their products. In the old model, if you are selling rain barrels, you would build a web site and pay close attention to SEO so that when anyone searches for rain barrels, they would come across your site. And that's still important. As Rubel points out, a Google search is still the place where most people start on the web.

However, that Google search for rain barrels still returns a half million results; water conservation: 12.5 million. The next step on the web, the digital curation step, would be to collect the best of that information and make your web site the place where people can find the art without having to look at the junk. While they're on the site, who knows? They just might buy a rain barrel.

Have you seen anyone who is doing this well with sustainable solutions?


Nathan Schock is constantly seeking to learn how companies and organizations can better communicate their sustainability initiatives and the role that communications plays in convincing people to choose more environmentally friendly options. His personal blog,, is the primary hub for communicating that learning and bringing together other people who do the same.