Curated content about curated content

March 1, 2013

Curation is an effective and unique content type. Pawan Deshpande says content curation is "the process of finding, organizing and sharing online content." In its very basic definition, curation is using your expertise in a field to gather great content around a specific theme and present that content in a way that will educate others.

Beth Kanter explains that organization and meaning take part in the curation process. She defines content curation as "the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme."

Jamie Beckland agrees that curation is more than mere filtering. His definition: "curation is the act of synthesizing and interpreting in order to present a complete record of a concept." That means more than just tweeting top news. It takes thought to present the whole story through curation.

According to Robin Good, curation "is by definition human-based," that is, "aggregation is automated, curation is manual."

Types of curation

It turns out there are many types of content curation. This means there are many possibilities for how you collect, digest, review, present, or explain content for others.

  • "Most bloggers quickly discover that posts that contain lists are popular." - Ian Cleary
  • Jamie Beckland lists four types of curation: editorial, crowd sourcing, algorithms, and the social graph.
  • Steve Buttry lists some interesting methods of curation: share breaking stories on a topic, give your reactions to a group of articles, create "talker stories" (taking everything people are saying on a topic on different social networks and presenting it as a discussion in one place), and daily features ("best of").
  • On her website, Heidi Cohen lists a few ways to curate content: make a reading list and link to each article, ask readers to submit favorites, ask lots of people the same question and publish the most interesting answers, or create a top 10 list.

Value of content curation

Curation helps readers by finding for them the valuable content among all the junk.

  • "More and more people are looking to content curation to help them navigate today's chaotic online world." - Pawan Deshpande
  • "People are curating the social stream. And, the curation process is more crucial than ever because of the sheer volume to wade through." - Jamie Beckland

It also helps to get an expert's perspective and commentary about the content they've pulled together.

  • "I believe that there is a role for trusted curators of news, people who have unique access or unique insight, who can get to news more quickly than anybody else, or dive into it more deeply." - Robin Good
  • "Of course, being a content curator isn't just about ease. It's also about the new perspective it brings to your audience. By sharing what you're reading, you broaden the view of the world for folks who look to you for advice and expose them to new voices." - Lisa Barone

Given the value of content curation and the expertise and work required, the following is a valid question:

  • "So who is more valuable in the future: the ones who create original content, or those who filter through the noise to curate the most valuable content?" - Christine Erickson

Tips for great content curation

1. Don't steal/plagiarize.

Give credit where credit is due by attributing and linking back to the source.

  • "Share. Don't Steal. Take the time to give attribution, links back, and credit." - Steve Rosenbaum
  • "Pretending it is your own personal wisdom when it's not, is not good." - Cath Pope

2. Use discretion and be human.

Don't automatically aggregate anything and everything that has been published on the subject. Readers depend on your expertise.

  • Joyce Seitzinger defines a few types of bad curation, such as the "national enquirer" type, which shares bad and good content and doesn't use discrimination, or "the robot" type, that posts lots of automated content with no personal comments or ways to give it meaning/context.
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Stephanie Hatch Leishman

Stephanie Hatch Leishman

Former MIT Social Media Strategist

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