So how exactly is the word “curation” applied online? Just like the museum curator, who picks out which paintings are shown, online curators pick out which bits of content are shown.
If you think about it, hasn’t this been going on since the dawn of communication?
Human’s have always shared what they felt was the most important, most relevant information to others around them. Even if they were the original source of that information.
Lately however, marketers have decided to call this “curation” in order to make it sound new. Regardless of whether it’s new or not, it is a very solid content strategy. Especially in this day and age! Let’s face it, there is an overwhelming amount of content out there now. We’ve become our own media outlet now that we have these smartphones in our pocket.
With an overabundance of content comes a growing demand for that content to be sifted and sorted. Curated to bring only the best bits to the forefront!
One old example of this online is The Drudge Report. This site produces no original content. Everyday they update the links on the one page they have. That’s it! This site gets butt loads of traffic, and it is worth millions. They employ a very small staff that “hand picks” the news they will feature on their homepage every day.
A better example would be The Huffingtonpost. As you can see, they add their own voice and opinion on the topic at hand in addition to syndicating content from other authoritative websites. It’s important to note that the owner of that site recently sold it for to AOL for $315 million dollars!
In regards to the word “curation”, Business Insider goes on to explain why it is becoming so popular with media companies large and small:
“..It’s a word that gained a lot of traction in the past 12 months as the overarching trends of ubiquitous distribution and mass content creation have emerged as the two headed dragon that may slay media as we know it.
The old model was “one to many” (NBC -> viewers). The new model is “one to a few” (YOU -> your friends and followers). That means there is an overwhelming explosion of content being created (Twitter feeds, blog posts, Flickr photos, Facebook updates) and most of it is interesting to a very small number of people. But, mixed in with this cacophony of consumer content, there is contextually relevant material that needs to be discovered, sorted, and made “brand safe” for advertisers.
Curation is the new role of media professionals.
Separating the wheat from the chaff, assigning editorial weight, and — most importantly – giving folks who don’t want to spend their lives looking for an editorial needle in a haystack a high-quality collection of content that is contextual and coherent. It’s what we always expected from our media, and now they’ve got the tools to do it better.
Yes, that’s right, the future of media is better, not worse. It’s more detailed, multi-faceted and nuanced. And, just more.“
A lot of content creators aren’t so happy about the growing popularity of “editorial curation — human filtering and organizing”. Steve Rosenbaum, the CEO of Magnify.net, explains why:
“For website content publishers and content creators, there’s a debate raging as to the rights and wrongs of curation. While content aggregation has been around for a while with sites using algorithms to find and link to content, the relatively new practice of editorial curation — human filtering and organizing — has created what I’m dubbing, “The Great Creationism Debate.”
The debate pits creators against curators, asking big questions about the rules and ethical questions around content aggregation. It turns out that lots of smart and passionate people are taking sides and voicing their opinions.
In trying to understand the issue and the new emerging rules, I reached out to some of the experts who are weighing in on how curation could help creators and web users have a better online experience.
The Issues at Hand
Content aggregation (the automated gathering of links) can be seen on sites like Google News. Overall, this type of aggregation has been seen as a positive thing for content creators and publishers, and up until very recently, it was left to technology. Content creation, meanwhile, was a human effort.
But all that changes with curation — the act of human editors adding their work to the machines that gather, organize and filter content.
“Curation comes up when search stops working,” says author and NYU Professor Clay Shirky. But it’s more than a human-powered filter. “Curation comes up when people realize that it isn’t just about information seeking, it’s also about synchronizing a community.”
Part of the reason that human curation is so critical is simply the vast number of people who are now making and sharing media. “Everyone is a media outlet”, says Shirky. “The point of everyone being a media outlet is really not at all complicated. It just means that we can all put things out in the public view now.”
Who are curators? What can they gather and re-publish? Do they have the right to get paid for curation? If so, who’s adding the real value, the content makers or the curators/publishers?
For creators — people who’ve spent their careers making content and trying to sort out an economic model — curation can seem like an end-run around hard work. And so the conflict ultimately comes down to this: Is curation about saving money? Or about adding value? The answer, it appears, is...” [Read More]
“The critical angle not addressed in this article is gatekeeping. We’ve been smelling gatekeepers all our lives, and we information seekers have absconded to the internet in an effort to share unauthorized information behind the gatekeepers’ backs. Your “curation” has the same familiar stench to me. It “doesn’t kill anything”? How about freedom of information, freedom from spin? You say you enjoy “synchronizing a community.” I say you enjoy dictating to it.“
So how do you feel personally about this new buzzword? Please leave a comment!
If you’re looking for help putting together a more dynamic content marketing strategy, feel free to get in touch with us.