Curating Or Collecting?

Content creation in the form of curating content, your own and that of others, is the hot new trend  in the digital world. Notable platforms have emerged which cater specifically to this form – YouTube playlists, Tumblr blogs, and, of course, Pinterest.

Curation is an ideal method to create content for regulated industries where it may take hours, or even days or weeks, to create new content based on a company’s own thought leadership or to receive approval from the legal or compliance department.  With curation you can use the content of others, provide your own insight or opinion in a few words and provide that information to your specific audience.

Tuning the content you’ve created is a bit of a different beast than doing the same thing to content you’re curating.  When actually creating new content there’s a built in system to avoid creating too much irrelevant content (at least for good writers and self-editors).  You’ll know if you’ve covered a topic before and from what perspectives.

That is the danger to curation – selecting too many bits of material and flooding  readers with information. Ideally you’re distilling information and providing the best of the best, not merely providing everything.

For a beginning curator that’s fine.  We see it all the time – children who collect seashells, rocks, playing cards try to collect all the seashells, rock or playing cards – much to the dismay of their parents.  The same goes for amateur “collectors” in the professional or financial services worlds.

Seasoned curators consider how new content they find complements and enhances their current set of curated content.

Trying to collect everything does have a value, but it’s that of a warehouse, not one of finding the cream of the crop.

How does this statistic compare to the statistic from the last fiscal year?  What insight to does a reader get when presenting these two industry trend articles?

A proper data or content curator must act like “real” curators – those we find at museums.  A museum curator’s goal is not to collect all pieces of work from a given period or given artist, but to build the best (not biggest) assemblage of works that speak to a given topic. Digital curators must behave in the same way for their work to be of value to their audience.

So do tell dear reader – are you curating or collecting?

(CC) image courtesy flickr user stevendepolo