What is content curation and why is it so important for the future of web content publishers? The content curator is the next emerging disruptive role in the content creation and distribution chain. In a world submerged by a flood of information, content curators may provide in the coming months and years a new, tremendously valuable service to anyone looking for quality information online: a personalized, qualified selection of the best and most relevant content and resources on a very specific topic or theme.
Photo credit: Luna Vandoorne Vallejo
In other words, a content curator is someone "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."In the real-time world of the Internet, this is critical.
This is how marketing expert Rohit Bhargava defines what he thinks is one of the key emerging online editorial roles of the future.
What the web needs to become even more useful and meaningful again (like in the old times, where only few websites existed) is a specialized middle layer of editors that gather, filter and distribute relevant information on specific niches of interest.
[...] the emerging newsmaster, is not just like the typical passionate Twitterer who shares all kinds of valuable information she finds.
Her value, as I see it, emerges from focusing only on one, very specific topic, and acting as an always-on radar. Its unique value is not just in the ability to capture everything being said, written and published on a specific topic, but very much into her ability to filter, select and editorially curate (titling, sequencing, grouping, commenting, etc.) the flow of information she manages.
Mastering how to create niche-targeted compilations of content is indeed one of the key lifesaving strategies that wise-minded online publishers can adopt to offer greater value, even at a price, to those interested in it.
In a world where attention has become so scarce to become as valuable as currency, and where quality information on a specific topic requires ever more time and attention to be found, the value that could provide those who have the ability to organize, select, compile and edit the most valuable information on anyone topic is incommensurable.
But don't take my word for it.
Here Rohit's own take on content curation and why it is such an important new trend:
Intro by Robin Good
by Rohit Bhargava
Every hour thousands of new videos are uploaded online. Blog posts are written and published. Millions of tweets and other short messages are shared.
To say there is a flood of content being created online now seems like a serious understatement.
Until now, the interesting thing is that there are relatively few technologies or tools that have been adopted in a widespread way to manage this deluge. We pretty much just have algorithmic search, with Google (and other search engines) as the most obvious example.
Social bookmarking and social news have been around for some time (ie - sites like Digg or delicious), and new models of aggregation like Alltop are springing up to help us navigate all this content as well. The real question is whether solutions like these will be enough.
By some estimates in just a few years we will reach a point where all the information on the Internet will double every 72 hours. Double. I am running out of metaphors to describe the magnitude of this content creation. The predictable result of this is that brands are beginning to focus on content creation when they start to look at social media.
What are we going to create, or what are we going to get our customers / patients / fans / audience / victims to create? Is that really the best question we could be asking?
What if you were to ask about the person that makes sense of it all? The one who sifts through all the content and picks out the best and most worthy. This person is missing from most corporate communications teams. It is not a commonly defined role on any ebusiness teams. In fact, there are few jobs like this at all.
The closest comparative role may be contained within the rising Library 2.0 movement (one I wrote about some time ago), but this is not frequently linked to business communication or marketing. If this role did exist, what would it be called? The name I would give it is content curator.
A content curator is someone 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." In the real-time world of the Internet, this is critical.
If you look at how many individuals are currently using their Twitter account to highlight interesting bits of content they locate or how delicious users have tagged and shared content on that site for years, you will understand that this idea has been steadily growing organically.
In an attempt to offer more of a vision for someone who might fill this role, here is my crack at a short manifesto for someone who might take on this job.
In the near future, experts predict that content 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 content 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 all the content that others are creating. To find the best and most relevant content and bring it forward. The people who choose to take on this role will be known as content curators.
The future of the social web will be driven by these content curators, who take it upon themselves to collect and share the best content online for others to consume and take on the role of citizen editors, publishing highly valuable compilations of content created by others.
In time, these curators will bring more utility and order to the social web. In doing so, they will help to add a voice and point of view to organizations and companies that can connect them with customers - creating an entirely new dialogue based on valued content rather than just brand created marketing messages.
Originally written by Rohit Bhargava for Influential Marketing Blog, and first published on September 30th, 2009 as Manifesto For The content curator: The Next Big Social Media Job of The Future?.
About Rohit Bhargava
Rohit Bhargava is a founding member of the 360 Digital Influence group at Ogilvy, author of Personality Not Included, a guide on how to use personality to reinvent your marketing that has been published globally in 8 languages and he writes the Influential Marketing Blog. Rohit Bhargava also teaches global communications at Georgetown University.
Rohit Bhargava -
The Flood of Content Creation - fotodozet
What Does The Content Curator Do? - El Bandito
Content Curator Manifesto - franckito