Be a Content Curator with Your Blog

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A content curator is someone who makes sense of the enormous amount of information available online and presents it in a consistent and trustworthy way so that their followers respect their expertise in knowing and recognizing trends and relevant information. As Rohit Bhargava explains, “they continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue online.”

Too Much Information, Not Enough Time

To further explain the need for a curator consider the quantity of information and data that is available on the web. Rohit Bhargava explains further that:

In the near future, experts predict that data on the web will double every 72 hours. The detached analysis of an algorithm will no longer be enough to find what we are looking for. To satisfy the people’s hunger for great information on any topic imaginable, there will need to be a new category of individual working online. Someone whose job it is not to create more content, but to make sense of everything that others are creating.

In other words, the current method that Google uses will eventually fail to be able to keep up with the amount of data available on the internet. As a result, finding curators who gather and sort data and content within your interests will be critical.

Kottke.org, my Favorite Curator

Kottke.org is a perfect example of a blog whose owner is a content curator. Jason Kottke offers multiple possible explanations of his blog, some of which include:

  • My wunderkammer. Wunderkammer is a German word meaning, roughly, “cabinet of wonders” or “cabinet of curiousities”. Julian Dibbell wrote about weblogs as wunderkammers for the dearly-departed Feed.
  • An attempt to track and make sense of “material that connects the insights of science and culture, rather than using one to dismantle the other”
  • Sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse, and even a bit of political purpose.

However it is simply a fantastic source for some of the greatest links, trivia, videos and viral conversations that are happening online. I can count on the blog to provide me with a regular diet of uniquely interesting links. This combination of unique and interesting is what makes this site work and keeps it at the top of my list.

Be a Source for Interesting Things

Use your blog as a resource for your visitors to find a personalized, qualified selection of the best content on a specific topic. You will need to do the hard work of sifting through the content within your topic area. This effort involves significantly more than finding and regurgitating links. A good curator must be skilled at

  • locating and evaluating valuable information
  • organizing and connecting
  • creating and re-purposing
  • building trusted relationships with learners and other curators

Bottom line: “Curation,” says Sayid Ali, owner of Newsflick.net, “gathers all these fragmented pieces of information to one location, allowing people to get access to more specialized content.” They help navigate readers through the vast ocean of content, and while doing so, create a following based on several factors: trust, taste and tools.

Be Connected and Credible

Find people who are already doing a great job making sense of the areas you care about. Follow them. Engage with them. Encourage them. Also find people who cover areas that might seem to be unrelated but where you are able to make some type of unexpected connection.

Torie Rose DeGhett, a staff writer at Current Intelligence says, “The point is to share [news items] and lead people to it, not to claim it as your own… [But] my selection of sources is intended to make an argument, and to support certain things, not to present everything that’s out there or every side.”

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tym/239582535/)

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  • I guess “curator” sounds more dignified than “aggregator.”

    • They are very different concepts. An aggregator does not discriminate, while a curator does.

      • Not every bit of news ends up on Drudge Report or HuffPo, or the ABA Journal, or Above the Law’s Morning Docket and Non-Sequiturs. That’s news aggregation with discrimination.

        Out in the brick and mortar world, curators have a responsibility to preserve the things in their collection, and the items in the collection are generally unique to the institution (thus the need to protect them). Neither of those features is mimicked by a news aggregating or filtering site.

  • “You will need to do the hard work of sifting through the content within your topic area.” It definitely takes practice to find an interesting topic to blog about that falls within one or more of my common practice areas. I can say alot about personal injuries, workers’ compensation, or disability, but would someone want to read it? Making the post relevant and interesting is the most difficult part.

  • This is essentially what I have done on my research blog “Researching Women as Lawyers” (www.womenaslawyers.wordpress.com). I am entering law school in the fall and as a senior thesis project for undergrad, I reviewed over 80 scholarly journal articles on topics ranging from women’s disparity in law school, women’s inequality as lawyers, as judges, etc. Some of the articles I read are over 100 pages long and I condensed each article into just a few short, concise paragraphs so that readers interested in this topic can quickly learn about the available research in this area without having to devote many hours. If after reading my short summary, someone would want to read the entire article, I include a bibliographic citation at the end of every blog post so that they may access the full article. I also have a “source citations” page that allows readers to quickly see all of the articles I read. If there is one they would like to know more about, they can click on the author’s name and be directed to my summary on that article. I hope that by dedicating so much time on this topic and making my findings easily accessible that I will encourage continued interest on women in the legal profession.