With Flipboard, Storify, Zite, Scoop.it and some other nice applications in the spotlight these days, the terms aggregation, filtering, re-publishing, and curation are being used like there is no tomorrow. Apparently, people are curating via Twitter, filtering signal from noice, turning buzz into intelligence… Curation is the new aggregation, etc.
Curation seems to be the old yellow, which was the new black. But in my humble opinion, true curation goes (or has to go) further than some (most) of the stuff I see today. With literally petabytes of info, news and user-generated content being uploaded every single week, the term info overload is an understatement. My personal Tweetdeck presents me with three tweets a second, on average. To avoid getting a whopping headache, I filter it on people, and keyword. Filters do come in handy.
If I browse the news on keywords, and put the results in a space, I’m aggregating. Aggregation gives me topic-relevant news @ a glance. To narrow down for relevancy, I can filter it further, using artificial or human filters. Machine or human filtering, I do not care. It stays aggregation in my eyes. Very often, it is smart re-publishing.
My personal requirement for curation goes a step further: it needs to bring me content on a higher level. It requires a necessary step beyond aggregation and filtering: it needs to add a relevant, active and editorial component. Curation needs to bring me relevant news, filtered, positioned in context, and condensed, following what I call smart content strategy.
I want the news to be gathered, processed and brought to me in a way that brings me intelligent added value. The news needs to be tailored to my content needs. And answers to crucial questions are primordial: Why is this news relevant? What’s the context? What are its authority and or reach? How will it impact me, or my client?
The editorial interpretation by a trusted source is front and center in the validation of the gathered content. It’s a process that starts with adequate sources, filtering on relevant keywords, followed by content evaluation according to tailored criteria. Then follows interpretation of the content mirrored against a broader context, weighing in sentiment, relevance and authority. That piece of work published is a piece of curation. I’ll settle for nothing less.
Content is king. Dealing with it is a métier, an art.
Re-calibrating content is what gives curation value. Carl Sagan phrased it eloquently: “If you want to create an apple pie from scratch, you’ll first have to invent the universe.” Good luck with that.