Dora the Explora

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What I’m Learning in Social Media: Be a Curator

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Images taken at the Louvre.

Think curating is only for museums? Think this post is about curing social media? ;-)

From Wikipedia:

Curator (from Latin cura, care), means manager, overseer.

Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution (e.g., gallery, museum, or archive) is a content specialist responsible for an institution’s collections.

Wikipedia also has an entry on Digital Curation, which entails:

    • Collecting verifiable digital assets
    • Providing digital asset search and retrieval
    • Certification of the trustworthiness and integrity of the collection content
    • Semantic and ontological continuity and comparability of the collection content

Okay that last one sounds a little too scientific.

If you mix these two, you could define a Social Media Curator as one who is a content specialist, collects verifiable digital assets and certifies their integrity. The curator needs to keep them in a location others can find. And the curator is also a tour guide advising peers on what this content means to them.

Curating in social media is something I’ve seen and heard Brian Solis refer to several times. See his post from earlier this year on Top Tips for Building Twitter Relationships.

“Curate and share helpful and applicable content on the stream and apply relevance and/or context.”

The idea is not new. In a quick search of “Social Media Curator,” I ran across this interesting post from 2007: The care and feeding of social media’s three classes: creators, curators and consumers.And this one from early October: Manifesto For The Content Curator: The Next Big Social Media Job Of The Future ?

More recently, Brian notes, in Part 1 of his Robert Scoble interview, how folks who are “curating the best stories” become the new influencers.

I agree with Robert as he said in Part 2 that maybe there is “too much noise” and “not enough thinking” or “not enough meat.” Brian said the lifespan of a RT is about two hours. So sometimes even if there is good info, you miss it. That’s why Guy Kawasaki argues you should repeat or RT yourself.

There is a lot of aggregation out there but not necessarily curation. As Brian said in the quote above, you have to “apply relevance and/or context.”

Brian said in Part 2 that Intel has “digital anthropologists” on staff to tell them how people are adopting and using technology. Similarly, curators should help others understand the cultural behavior change going on and how their customers and markets are adopting and using the social technologies.

Robert mentioned in Part 2 that there is a new digital divide. The other day a colleague told me “you need to talk slower, you know all this but for many of us, this is a whole new language.” The curator acts as translator explaining the nuances of communication in a digital world.

Here are a few folks who deserve the curator title: Robert Scoble, Brian Solis, Jeremiah Owyang, Shel Holtz, Shel Israel, Shonali Burke, Laura Thomas.

And a few more resources for all of us aspiring curators:

Let me know what you’re curating.