Depending on your point of view, content on the internet can be a vast collection of treasures, a cesspool swimming in filth, or a big pile of gold specks mixed in with an even bigger pile of dirt. My guess is that most people lean towards the last one, giving rise to content curation, the process of finding the gold among the dirt, as a very popular online activity.
At its most basic, content curation is the process of finding, organizing, and presenting content from the flood of information and media that inundate the web by the second. Similar to museum curators, content curators sift through a seemingly never-ending amount of digital objects to unearth individual items worthy of being showcased for a specific audience. Once the selection is finished, the curator presents those assembled elements under a cohesive theme, just like museum curators do for specific exhibitions.
WHAT CONTENT CURATION ISN’T
Content curation isn’t about creating new content, just like a museum creator has no hand in creating the artifacts she decides to put on display. Instead, it’s about finding and organizing existing content for presentation under a meaningful context.
It’s not about indiscriminately collecting content (that’s aggregation, like what an RSS reader does), either, just as a museum curator doesn’t simply point to any object in a warehouse when deciding which artifacts will be included for a particular show. Instead, curation entails making a critical evaluation of whether a piece of content fits into the context it’s going to be presented under.
It helps to think of a content curator as someone who’s editing a print magazine. He gets 100 articles from his staff and 100 images from his photographers, all ready for publishing, except the magazine only has enough space to accommodate a quarter of that content. His task, then, is to sift through all 200 items and decide which ones will be published in order to serve the audience’s best interest. Except, in this case, the editor is dealing with the near-infinite amount of online content.
THE NEED FOR CONTENT CURATION As the internet has grown, so has the amount of original content it has made available to the world. While Google and other services have provided a way to sift through all this content to find the ones you need, it’s still easy to miss particularly good content when it’s buried under the heap of millions upon [...]