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Content Curator Identikit: 1) General Traits

key skills, character traits, attitudes and abilities of great content curators

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Which are the general traits, character-based attitudes, skills and abilities of great content curators?

What differentiates them from the rest?

Based on my personal experience, I have identified three groups of elements that characterize the profile of great digital curators:

  • Communication Skills
  • Technical Know-How
  • General Traits, which I list and analyze here below.
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a1) Curiosity — An Inquisitive, Investigative Mind

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DEF: The drive to know more, to look beyond the surface, to ask questions.

WHY: Curation is all about learning and discovering more of what interests us. When not driven by true curiosity and interest, it is called schooling.

Talented content curators are always question-askers. They do not take things for granted. They question official sources and they personally check for the validity of any information without blindingly trusting “expert” sources and authorities.

Also in the day-to-day work, the curator needs to be asking questions constantly.

For example, it may happen that during a search to find information on a specific topic, a curator runs into apparently unrelated materials which could be useful later for other projects.

In such situations he must not simply bookmark the newly found content and save it aside. He must critically evaluate what he has found and consider its significance relative to the audience he is communicating to. Is it worth keeping it? What does it connect to? Where do I store it and to what else is this similar to?

HOW:

  • by acting as an investigator, a detective, searching for clues and insight amidst lots of contradictory info and differing viewpoints.
  • by becoming an expert at Crap Detection.
  • by nurturing an open-minded, supportive environment. Working with passionate friends and colleagues to explore a specific issue, place or event that connects to your interests while agreeing not to judge each other in the process. Put yourself in a situation where others are not going to judge you for asking questions and where actually who asks more and better questions gets rewarded.
  • by being skeptical. By not taking news and information at face value, simply because they come from an apparently “trusted” source.
  • by cultivating curiosity and a true interest for the topics a curator works on.
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a2) Subject-Matter Expertise

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DEF: Deep, experiential knowledge (based on physical experiences) of a specific matter.

WHY: Just like for wines, unless you have explored, studied and done a lot of tasting, it is very hard to credibly evaluate and suggest a wine over another.

Unless one has a good experience and familiarity with a topic, it is very hard to distinguish what is good, interesting and of value, from what is not.

Learning increases resolution. The more I know about something, the more I can sense and appreciate its traits, qualities and weaknesses.

Thus, a significant amount of experience with the topic or issue at hand, is the first critical requirement needed for someone who wants to find, pick and recommend selected items over other ones.

Experience can’t be substituted or replaced by passion, though passion can certainly help to gain more of it, more rapidly.

HOW:

  • by reading and studying the work of others on the subject
  • by interviewing established experts in the field
  • by researching, collecting and organizing relevant resources on the topic
  • by analyzing research data, trends, statistics
  • by comparing differing viewpoints
  • by discussing the topic with other passionate scholars
  • by questioning established assumptions and memes
  • by writing about the subject
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a3) Strong Ethics

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DEF: A set of values that a person strives to adhere to and which he utilizes to filter, make choices and evaluate reality.

WHY: A curator without ethics is like a fireman without a water hose.

Without a well defined set of reference values it is much harder to filter, pick and select information artifacts to use inside collections, sets or news streams.

The curator’s values define the filtering net through which rare gems are discovered and caught. That is: an information artifact is not intrinsically valuable. The value arises from what a curator allows me to see through it.

HOW:

  • by traveling a lot to see different cultures and traditions
  • by asking oneself periodically why one does what he does
  • by asking oneself periodically what one stands for
  • by doing practical things to support the preceding points.
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a4) Transparency — Disclosure

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DEF: Not keeping secrets, not hiding info for personal benefit and prestige. Conscious, willful choice to publicly share information about one’s own motives, interests, partnerships that may be interpreted as a conflict of interest.

WHY: Curators thrive on credibility and trust.

But unless readers can easily see, read, verify and check who you are, what is your background, why you do what you do and who is associated with you or sponsoring you, it is much more difficult to gain their trust and support.

Unless readers know the curator real motives, what drives and rewards him, their level of trust will only be very superficial.

In other words, without transparency the audience cannot easily understand whether a specific curator selections are based on true value or on personal whims, interests or economic benefits.

HOW:

by disclosing / making public one’s own:

  • commercial interests, partnerships
  • motives for doing what one does
  • communication objective(s)
  • prejudices, preferences
  • ideals, ethics, values, personal credo /
  • what he/she stands for
  • focus, topic/issue/theme
  • audience-target-tribe
  • evaluation criteria utilized.
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a5) Empathy

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DEF: Ability to deeply identify with another individual or group of people.

WHY: The objective of a curator is to help others make sense, learn or stay informed about a specific interest area, by finding, organizing and presenting key information artifacts while adding his personal viewpoint.

Knowing well who those “others” are and “what specifically they want to make sense of” within that interest, is essential for the curator to achieve his mission.

It is the curator’s duty to develop a strong ability to closely identify with his audience, to fully understand its language, needs, interests and expectations relative to the topic, theme or issue being curated.

HOW: Empathy and close understanding of one’s own audience can be developed by:

  • by getting to know personally people who are part of that audience
  • by having been part of the audience one curates for
  • by interacting with that audience frequently and
  • by listening for feedback, criticism, suggestions, ideas
  • by openly listening to their key questions and needs within that context
  • by trying to practically solve that audience typical issues and problems
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a6) Personal Voice. Opinion

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DEF: A personal, publicly shared view on a specific issue, event, topic or person.

WHY: A specific viewpoint helps readers better understand and interpret a curated item or a collection. Unless a curator has a strong personal, unique, editorial “voice”,he has no real reason to exist.

The more viewpoints one has access to relative to any topic, the easier it will be to understand and make-sense of it.

Thus, a curator having a strong viewpoint and perspective and the courage to publicly share it, provides greater value to those interested in that topic.

The curator does not attempt to be “objective”. The curator works at the opposite end of the spectrum: he does not try to keep distance with the artifacts and collections he designs, nor to be detached or objective about them.

The curator brings in to view all of his prejudices, bias, viewpoint and opinion to any piece of the collections he creates. He puts perspective, insight, opinion and evaluation in everything he curates. And that’s where, for the reader, the value lies.

HOW:

  • by getting highly involved with the content/information being curated
  • by actively questioning the value of any information artifact within a specific context
  • by developing the ability to rationally analyze and dissect any information artifact in its key building elements and rapidly identifying its key strengths and weaknesses
  • by always contributing a personal viewpoint, commentary, opinion on what is being curated.
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a7) Pattern Recognition

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DEF:The ability to spot and easily recognize similar information patterns across completely different contexts and appearances.

WHY: The ability to recognize patterns allows the curator to see trends and the emergence of new ideas before others can.

Hence, it can be a highly valuable asset in the task of helping other understand, make-sense and keep themselves up-to-date on a specific topic.

For example when a curator sees several bloggers in his niche starting to write about a certain topic, or multiple startups starting to build similar tools that address a common problem, he can detect ahead of time, upcoming trends and changes which are not immediately evident to all those operating in that field.

HOW:

  • by curating more. The more experience within a specific information field and the easier it becomes to start noticing trends and patterns.
  • by devoting more time to study and explore new and old information artifacts.
  • by paying increasing attention to details, subtle traits, features and nuances that may otherwise pass by unnoticed.
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a8) Organization. Categorizing

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DEF: Ability to easily recognize similar items, to logically group and label them in order to facilitate archiving, findability, discovery and re-use.

WHY: Curation is all about organizing. Without order it is not possible to understand, learn, make sense of something.

Curation makes sensible order out of chaos.

Organizing information allows others to more easily find and discover what they may be looking for.

By imposing order and organization the curator can start to appreciate details, subtle traits and differences that in turn, help in pattern identification.

HOW:

  • by systematically saving and categorizing information items being found
  • by ordering them into relevant categories
  • by assigning relevant tags to information items
  • by adding relevant or missing metadata.
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a9) Attention to Details

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DEF: The awareness of, the sensitivity to, the care and interest for small and often not immediately noticeable items that make up something.

WHY: Details determine the difference between artworks, innovative ideas, and shallow content.

Attention to details empowers the curator to appreciate first and before others the traits and patterns of outstanding work.

Attention to details is a form of love, of respect and care, for what is being curated. That is the essence of what a curator does.

HOW:

  • by providing ample time and undistracted attention to the curation process.
  • by having others review, comment and provide feedback to it.
  • by double-reviewing and checking curated work before releasing it to the public
  • by avoiding to work under tight time constraints and quantity-driven production goals.
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a10) Being Systematic & Being Thorough

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DEF: Analyzing things by following a systematic procedure and executing tasks with high precision, without leaving anything to chance.

WHY: Being systematic and thorough allows the curator to find out more about a subject than the normal average person does. To discover more info about something and to develop a larger perspective and understanding of it.

A content curator is like an investigator who systematically needs to verify, check and vet any information received without drawing early conclusions, or making superficial assessments and evaluations.

The more he does so, the more readers will find him credible and worth of their trust.

HOW:

  • by going in-depth into everything that is evaluated
  • by not looking just at appearances but at substance and details as well
  • by being skeptical, asking questions, and by being extremely curious
  • by being driven by the desire to know, discover and share what is not readily apparent, visible or known.
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a11) Patience

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DEF: Ability to wait for significant amounts of time without losing sight of the objective being pursued.

WHY: Investigating, researching and verifying are all time consuming tasks that cannot be shortcut. Their value is in the time spent doing them not in being faster in completing them.

To curate is similar to fishing. You need to wait, while doing everything you can to pave the way for the perfect catch.

HOW:

  • by allowing ample time for curated sets to fully develop
  • by not imposing on the curator goals that are quantity-oriented
  • by saving and placing aside potentially relevant information items way before they become actual key components of a published collection.

See also:

- Communication Skills (coming soon)

- Technical Know-How (coming soon)

as well as the introductory part to this chapter:

Credits:

If you have found this content useful and would recommend it as a reading resource, please let other discover it by clicking the heart icon below.

Thank you.

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Content Curator Identikit: 3) Technology Know-How

key skills, character traits, attitudes and abilities of professional content curators

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Which are the key traits, the skills and the know-how required to be a professional content curator?

I have identified three groups of elements that characterize the profile of professional digital content curators:

For each one of these, I have highlighted key elements by defining what each one means (DEF), why it is important for a curator to have (WHY) and how it can be cultivated (HOW).

In this section I analyze the key Technical Know How areas that a professional content curator needs to be familiar with.

  1. Online Search
  2. Collecting / Gathering
  3. Archiving / Storing / Preserving
  4. Managing RSS Feeds
  5. Online Publishing
  6. Social Media
  7. Digital Images and Video
  8. Content Scheduling — Automation
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c1) Online Search and Content Discovery

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DEF: Ability to use digital/online tools to find and verify relevant information in a specific interest area.

Searching skills in this context include both the ability to search for and across all possible source types, from blogs to news sites, as well as having the ability to configure precise alerts (persistent search queries) on specific subjects, topics, keywords, places, people.

WHY: To find and to discover rare, quality content gems, online search skills and in particular Google search syntax know-how are essential.

Online search is a fundamental, strategically important skill for any curator. It is through search that a curator finds many of the gems he seeks and it is through search that he is able to check and verify them. For these reasons a curator needs to have good competence and knowledge of how search engines work and of the tools, methods and commands used to effectively extract specific information from them.

Without strong search skills there cannot be any valuable and verifiable discovery .

HOW:

  • by developing great familiarity with advanced search and filtering skills, and especially with the ability to filter out content based on keywords, age, language, and other variables inside search engines like Google
  • by mastering all of Google search syntax commands and search options
  • by familiarizing oneself with other complementary search engines. Google is good, but not having to rely exclusively on it, is best
  • by culling and cultivating interest for curiosity, for the why of things, and for asking difficult questions.
  • by personally investigating a topic rather than relying exclusively on what others have said, seen or reported.
  • by learning key skills from information librarians and other similar professionals (investigators, hackers, etc.)
  • by adopting tools that are capable of indexing, memorizing and easily retrieving any document, website, image or video you have ever seen, opened or saved on your computer screen (e.g.: AtlasRecall, Meta.sc).
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c2) Collecting — Gathering

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DEF: The ability to use digital tools to gather, collect and organize relevant content that needs to be yet evaluated, vetted or curated.

WHY: Collecting and gathering are essential activities that complement the curator research process by helping him organize potentially relevant information, in an orderly and efficient way.

It is not uncommon for a curator to run into new sources and information, that while not immediately relevant to its present focus and research, are nonetheless valuable and worth coming back to.

Thus the skilled curator must always know where and how to preserve, store, and pre-organize, just-in-time, the interesting material he discovers.

HOW:

  • by getting into the habit of archiving and preserving in an organized way all of the relevant and potentially useful resources that one encounters
  • by immediately categorizing and annotating collected resources
  • by becoming familiar with the use of popular bookmarking and collection tools like Pinterest, OneNote, Evernote, PocketDiigo.
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c3) Archiving, Storing / Preserving

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DEF: The ability to safely preserve digital content for future reference, retrieval and use.

WHY:

a. Content on the internet is volatile. Todays is there, tomorrow you don’t know. Even valuable research, guides, video clips and articles, get moved, are deleted or somehow lose their original location online and become hard or next to impossible to find.

However absurd it may sound, now that we have all of these means to publish, share and disseminate information, we are also at our negative peak in having reliable ways and solutions to preserve it for the future.

b. Curation is responsible also for the preservation of information so that future generations, centuries from now, will be able to better understand who we were and what thoughts and interests permeated our culture.

c. Curators who want their information streams or collections to be long-lasting need to address this issue as a critical one. If they don’t, it is more likely that a good percentage of the information resources presented in their collections will grow plenty of stale, broken links that will rapidly devaluate their good curation work. This process of gradual link-rotting, unless systematically cured, may in turn gradually affect their own credibility and authority on the subject.

d. Curated collections and resources disappear just like other types of content. I have myself lost several good collections that I had curated, simply because the tools and services I used to build them up, simply went out of business before I was able to save, backup and preserve the good work I had done.

HOW:

  • by taking extra steps to safely store and archive curated collections so that they can stand the test of time (e.g.: backing up to one or more of these dedicated services )
  • by carefully evaluating tools and web services to be utilized to create collections so as not to use those that have high risk of closing, pivoting, or not being 100% reliable in the future
  • by utilizing tools and web apps that allows for easy export /download of the whole collection at any time
  • by not blindly relying on online backup services, as there is no certainty about their existence in the future. Reliable and permanent archival of content by using an Internet-based service is an illusory ambition. Since any company offering such service can potentially go out of business, no such solution is 100% reliable.
  • by adopting the 3–2–1 Backup approach:
    - store three copies of the original content
    - save the content in at least two different formats
    - keep at least one backup copy off-line.
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c4) Managing RSS Feeds

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DEF: Ability to understand and use RSS feeds technology to gather, monitor, discover and to publish content online.

WHY: RSS feeds are a uniquely valuable technology, accessible by anyone for free. There is nothing to install, configure or register to, to start using them.

RSS feeds greatly simplify the amount of work and time needed to gather and monitor content coming from a multiplicity of sources in a timely manner.

RSS feeds allow constant monitoring of specific online sources, authors, keywords. They can also be used as an additional free (or paid) content distribution channel.

HOW:

  • by studying what RSS feed exactly are and how they work
  • by actively using RSS feeds
  • by becoming familiar with a few RSS readers available online, what they do and how they work (e.g.: Feedly)
  • by using the free Google Alerts service. With it you can create persistent searches on very specific topics on which you want to be alerted when there is new relevant content. Google Alerts can output its results in an RSS feed (which you can add to your favorite RSS reader / e.g.: Feedly).
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c5) Online Publishing

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DEF: The ability to reliably publish content online across a variety of platforms types (WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Pinterest, etc.).

WHY: Unless shared, curated content is nothing more than a private collection.

Whether for the public at large, or internally within an organization or team, curated content becomes such only when it is openly shared.

For this reason knowing how to reliably publish any type of content of online is a core skill requirement for any would-be content curator.

HOW: Practice, practice, practice.

Specifically:

  • by opening a personal site, blog or other online outlet and learning how to reliably publish, modify and update content on the web
  • by familiarizing oneself with the use of WordPress
  • by learning how to use the FTP protocol to access a web server
  • by knowing how to post on social media across different social networks.
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c6) Social Media

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DEF: The ability to publish, promote, interact and respond to community needs, requests and desires via social media channels (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, G+, LinkedIN, Pinterest, etc.)

WHY: Curated work has to be shared. As of today (2017), social media is the key online vehicle to expose, distribute, promote and give visibility to any type of curated work.

HOW:

  • byworking as a social media manager or by maintaining a Facebook Page for a brand
  • by learning what it takes to grow a fan base and to listen and interact with it
  • by gaining competence and familiarity with Twitter reading and publishing technologies (such as Tweetdeck), social bookmarking and social monitoring tools, as well as some basic competence in HTML tags and traffic analytics tools.
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c7) Use of Digital Images and Video

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DEF: The ability to use hardware and software technology to shoot, record, capture, edit, encode and publish video content online.

WHY: In the digital content universe, video and images are everywhere. Pages containing only text have become a rarity.

Thus, technical and practical know-how on how to manage, download, edit, any type of image or video (audio too) is a critical requirement for any would be professional content curator.

HOW:

  • by practical use: shoot photographs and videos and learn how to edit and upload them online
  • by curating a personal collection of videos / images
  • by learning how to use basic image and video editing tools (Polarr, iMovie, Sony Vegas, etc.)
  • by learning how to use YouTube Playlists for curating video collections
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c8) Content Scheduling — Automation

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DEF: The ability to use tools to schedule and automate repetitive content publishing chores.

WHY: Any job dealing with information gathering, collecting, curation and distribution, involves many different individual tasks that need to be carried in a specific order.

Independent curators and small businesses curating a specific information space may find increasingly difficult to manage all of these tasks while having to research, curate content and cultivate a community of readers.

In addition, online audiences are awake and curious to be informed 24/7/365. There’s no sleeping in the digital online world.

Content curators who want to provide a consistent presence and an uninterrupted flow of relevant content to their readers, need a simple and reliable solution to schedule and automate some of these repetitive tasks.

By taking advantage of good planning practices, content scheduling and automation tools, curators can gain the extra time and attention required to better evaluate, assess and provide insight into their curated selections.

HOW:

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See also:

Credits:

If you have found this content useful and would recommend it as a reading resource, please let other discover it by clicking the heart icon below.

Thank you.

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The Identikit of a Professional Content Curator

30+ key skills, character traits, attitudes and abilities of great content curators

(image)Image credit: Shutterstock
“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.
Rohit Bhargava
Manifesto For The content curator: The Next Big Social Media Job of The Future (2009)

It’s true: To manage and make sense of all of this information we need something of an entirely new order of magnitude.

Search engines, open directories, and millions of bloggers are not enough.

To put order, to make sense and to surface the true valuable content gems available online, what the web needs is a specialized middle layer of editors that gather, filter and distribute relevant information on specific niches of interest.

A multi-layered, self-organizing approach that allows the filtering load to be highly distributed and the focus and depth to be guaranteed by the combined result of many highly focused individual efforts.

Stephen Downes saw it coming over 10 years ago:

“The layered mechanism works because at no point is the entire weight of the filtering process concentrated in a single individual or a single resource.
It means that individual agents can work without the need for central control, with the only requirement for a functional system being an open set of connections between the agents.
What RSS does best is that it allows an individual to scan, filter, and pass forward. That’s all it ever has to do.
The network can and will do the rest.

This is why the content curator is the next emerging disruptive role in the content creation and distribution chain.

“The role of a great editor, curator, whatever we want to call this person is not to give people what they already know they are going to be into; it’s to get them interested in things they didn’t know they were interested in, until they are.
And the cat video is the editorial cop-out. You’re not doing your job if you’re not broadening someone’s horizon.”
- Maria Bustillos
https://www.buzzfeed.com/mariabustillos/rise-of-the-net-jockey-why-we-need-curators

What Qualities Does a Curator Need To Have?

From a video interview with Howard Rheingold:

Howard Rheingold: What qualities do you think a curator ought to have?

Robin Good: “He’s [the curator] got to be somewhat of a very curious person and a passionate person in the area where he wants to curate.

I don’t think you can just go about curating a topic because you wake up and that’s something you want to do.

You certainly can, and gain confidence with it over time, but it would be best that you go and curate something that you’re already very passionate about, that you have been exposed to, so that you have some sensitivity, some antennas, that allow you to understand what is good (not just what appears to be good) and what is not.

…also because then it becomes a point of, who are you doing this for? Are you just an artist painting something for yourself, or are you curating something for a specific audience, trying to intercept a specific need and fulfill it with that channel of information?

I would think that knowing the audience and being an expert on the topic helps someone curate whatever type of information items he has at his disposal. Those, I think, are the key elements.

Then you’ve got to be very transparent, and give full credit to whoever you’re gathering in, and expose actually, the best qualities of these sources and people.

And then add something of your own.

That is, the ultimate quality of the curator… is like the one for a DJ. I mean, what’s the difference between putting on a mixtape or having a live DJ?

I think those same qualities apply somewhat to a content curator. That is the ability to listen closely to what type of audience, at the moment, he’s serving, and then providing a proper “context” so that the type of information he or she is collecting makes sense to them.

You may have to change titles, descriptions, images, order, how you juxtapose things. But you have to customize the flow for the purpose, theme, and public you’re doing that for.

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Technology Is Not the Key

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What are then the key traits, abilities and skills that great content curators have in order to gain their readers’ trust?

Most people to whom I have shown, explained or illustrated content curation, have missed to understand the value and potential of the process, by focusing too much on the technology aspect: how you do it, where you click, how you publish it on your site, and so on.

In fact, while technology does play an important role in helping a curator find, aggregate, filter, curate and re-publish existing content, it is in the expertise and skills of the curator the opportunity to create meaning, to make sense of disparate info and add to tangible value to any newly curated story.

What makes a successfulcurator” is therefore not just the ability to maneuver freely with RSS feeds, aggregators and PHP includes, or having access to the latest search, aggregation and content curation technologies.

Curation requires, to be done effectively, experience, subject-matter expertise, as well as many other skills and competencies.

a) the level of passion (=interest) for a specific topic and the experience one has with it

b) the desire to share and help others make sense / get informed / learn

c) the ability to ask relevant questions

d) the ability to provide context and add value / meaning

e) an ethical and transparent approach.

Those who jump on the curation train, thinking that by reposting other people’s content that looks interesting from the title, without actually reading it, are in for some not so pleasing surprise: the greatest risk for content curators.

Credibility and reputation can be instantly squandered without one realizing it for a long time to come. And for curators, credibility is a primary asset.

But do remember that trust, is something we are willing to giveto someone, who has repeatedly demonstrated subject matter expertise and consistent relevance.

If you are very knowledgeable at something I am interested in, and you repeatedly provide me with verified valuable news stories, links and resources that I didn’t know anything about, you gain lots of personal trust from me.

Not general trust in you as a person, but specific trust in you as an expert insider in that specific subject matter area.

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.”
Rohit Bhargava
Manifesto For The content curator: The Next Big Social Media Job of The Future (2009)

1) General Traits, Skills and Abilities of a Professional Content Curator

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In my effort to help whoever else is interested in learning more about content curation I have attempted to identify and list what I think are all of the key traits, abilities, skills that a “professional” content curator should ideally have.

I have arrived at these elements by looking at my own personal experience as a content curator (of different kinds) over the course of thirty and more years. Thus, the set of traits I suggest is open to improvement, refinement and revision by others, who may have discovered more or differently than I did.

Here is my list of key traits, skills and abilities a professional content curator should have, organized into three distinct categories:

a) General Traits

b) Communication Skills

c) Technical Skills

Here they are in detail:

a. General Traits

  • a1) Curiosity
  • a2) Subject-Matter Expertise
  • a3) Strong Ethics
  • a4) Transparency — Disclosure
  • a5) Empathy
  • a6) Personal voice
  • a7) Pattern Recognition
  • a8) Organization
  • a9) Attention to Details
  • a10) Being Systematic
  • a11) Patience

b. Communication Skills

  • b1) Strong Editorial Focus
  • b2) Effective Writing
  • b3) Contextualizing
  • b4) Synthesizing
  • b5) Presenting
  • b6) Visualization
  • b7) Vetting & Verification
  • b8) Comparing
  • b9) Referencing
  • b10) Crediting
  • b11) Listening

c. Technology Know-How

  • c1) Online search
  • c2) Collecting
  • c3) Archiving — Preserving
  • c4) RSS Feeds
  • c5) Online Publishing
  • c6) Information Design
  • c7) Social Media Publishing
  • c8) Use of Digital Images and Video
  • c9) Content Scheduling / Automation

*I have created a dedicated chapter for each one of these three sets and I will publish them separately in the coming days.

Who Am I To Say It?

(image)Robin Good

If you are rightly wondering who am I to assess and identify the characterizing traits, skills and tech know-how requirements of a professional content curator, please take into consideration my experiences before making a final judgement.

1970’s — Professional DJ (Nautic Sound 2000)
Played turntables and spun records for private parties

1976 — Radio DJ (Radio Hanna, RAM 102, RadioTeleMagia)
Music selection and live voice for “Spaghetti Soul” and “Gi Disco Gi” radio programs

1979 — Radio Music Director (Radio Hanna)
Set up of top-40 style rotation system and music selection.

1982 — BFA in Experimental and Interdisciplinary Arts — SFSU
my thesis was a curated film short (“Rhythms”) made by aptly juxtaposing unique scenes I had shot with different musical soundtracks to evoke different emotions.

1984 — On-Air Promotion Producer, TV Trailers & Station Breaks (Videotime)

1985 — Video Producer (AVC Communications)

1986 — Radio Program Director (M100)

1987 — Independent video curator

1989 — Art director — CEO Graphic Design and Communication agency

2001 — Curator of MasterMind Explorer newsletter

2003 — Editor/Publisher MasterNewMedia.org

2005 — Curator of Sharewood Picnic newsletter (now Top Tools)

2007 — Twitter channel curator

2008 — Pinterest collections curator

2011 — Curator of Content Curation World

2013 — Publisher and editor of T5 digital tools catalog

2014 — Curator ZEEF tools directories

2015 — Curator for new edition of Content Curation World on Flipboard

Summary

Curating content is a complex and challenging activity. To do it effectively it does require many talents, abilities and some technical know-how.

I have organized all of these skills, based on my experience, into three groups:

a) General Traits

b) Communication Skills

c) Technical Know-How

The first two groups are essential requirements, while I consider the third one an optional. One can be a great curator without having much of the technical skills I have outlined here, and relying on someone else to take care of those tech responsibilities.

Many of these skills can be acquired through study and practice, while a few may be more part of the general character of a person, and though modifiable, they are harder to work on (for example traits like “attention to details” or “patience” may take longer time to be adopted than others).

My goal in writing this is to highlight the complexity and richness of this professional role while providing an informative reference for those interested in understanding content curation and/or in introducing and explaining it to others.

Overall, the best path to become a qualified, trusted guide in a specific interest area (a content curator) is to actually curate as much content as possible on a continuous systematic basis while seeking critical feedback from a mentor or a more experienced person.

Find out more on professional content curator skills by reading:

  • Content Curator Identikit: 1) General Traits
  • Content Curator Identikit: 2) Communication Skills
  • Content Curator Identikit: 3) Technology Skills

If you have found this content useful and would recommend it as a reading resource, please let other discover it by clicking the heart icon below.

Thank you.

Robin

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