I have to be transparent with you; I have come to realize I am a content curator. “Curare” (to take care of) has a long history and one update describes the role as one “who continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue online”. The most important component of this job is the word “continually.”
As we interact digitally the content curator/strategist becomes a key part of the end users learning experience. The design and delivery must have a purpose that is consistent, contextual, and easily understood by the user. The role of content strategist/digital curator is also one of translator. As learning professionals we translate the organizations content, we chunk it up and make it understandable. Being the strategic curator you must selectively choose content objects that will engage the user community, tell the story they want (or need), and inspire action that leads to their success and meets their need.
Susan Young wrote a piece that described what a good curator is all about and these four highlight describe the impact for me:
Keep abreast of trends, twists, and turns in a specific niche;
Recognize news when it happens because their radar is always on and they trust their intuition
Feel generally curious and enjoy soaking up information like a sponge;
Compile a series of valuable and reliable information knowing their readers trust their judgment and enjoy the blend of quality content they gather.
But why take the time, what is the need? We have Google Alerts and all kinds of RSS feeds that automatically collect and even disseminate content. The need, I will put forth, is the difference between aggregation and curation and that simply sharing content over social platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook without applying analysis and context is not of any true value.
Strategically content must have a purpose, must meet our needs as we seek patterns, and we want to make sense of the information being hurled at us. Beth Kanter shared the 3 steps below in a blog titled “Content Curation Primer”.
I look at the content that I read and review to see where the connection is, I read between the lines, draw inferences on applications and seek to cross reference content to make the puzzle come together. I like my Google Alerts but find that the math and exact word searches don’t always bring me what I am seeking, it is up to a person to make sense and bring it together.
So as you build sites and help your organizations teach their people and educate their consumers don’t forget to bring in one tool to help you focus on your success. Measure and create detailed analytics of the traffic to help identify what people want more of and trend the topics being raised, the questions being posed. This data will lead you to two needs with the first data point helping you provide support (and success) to your user community to perform effectively and efficiently. The second will lead to a sound, effective topic strategy – a topic worth a post and one for now I will leave to you to surf and review on your own!