“A curator is an information chemist. He or she mixes atoms together in a way to build an info-molecule. Then adds value to that molecule” – Robert Scoble
Master curator and Microsoft evangelist Robert Scoble gave an interview to Howard Rheingold on how to be a good curator (see below) and gave away some great advice on mastering the art and science of content curation using social media and other digital technologies.
Here is a collection of my favorite quotes from Scoble’s interview with Rheingold. I’ll provide some context around Scoble’s quotes from the interview as well as my personal interpretation.
“Twitter is the replacement of the Associated Press Wire Machine”
New web platforms are knocking out old technologies at a rapid pace – none faster than information technology. Historically, slugs fed from wire machines at the Associated Press and other leading news organizations were what fed news discovery. Today, these technologies can’t keep up with the instantaneity of the Twitter platform.
Never before has there existed a technology with the possibility to reach millions of people instantly, or have your message spread at the speed of social sharing. News on Twitter spreads so fast that news organizations regularly use the social giant as a modern news reel.
Scoble also presented some interesting ways of confirming real news from fake news on Twitter to avoid getting duped, but for the most part Twitter is the go-to source for the latest breaking news.
“When you see the world’s information streaming at you in real time, most people can’t put up with that”
Here Scoble was referring to the massive stream of information that is flowing through social networks. This stream is far too deep and wide for the average social media user to pick through and find the best information that is relevant to them.
This is exactly what has given rise to ‘social influencers’ – highly followed social network users that either develop or curate valuable, relevant & scarce content. Following these influencers is how most people ‘deal with’ the world’s information stream.
“If you want more followers, you need to follow better people”
Successful curation requires following the most valuable and relevant information sources on the web. Not only do you need to follow the best people on social media, but you also need to follow the best publishers, aggregators & brands. Cast a wide net across the best information resources on the web, then curate the créme de la créme from the discovered resources. The best of the best is what develops follower bases.
“You really need tools to keep up with this world”
Advanced curators need a wide variety of information resources, tools and methodologies to keep up with the world’s information stream. Web-based tools to help the curator discover and organize information in real-time will provide an edge in content curation. If you aren’t using tools then your process is likely no better than the average social media search bar.
“Pick something very specific and very niche. Understand that and become an owner of that.”
The old business adage to focus on a niche is just as applicable with respect to content curation. Being known in a specific niche will focus your efforts while developing a very targeted audience. Do your research to understand the audience that is most important to your brand. Find the niche that ties this audience together and own that space.
“Anything that moves in that smaller niche, it better be up on your Twitter page before anyone else”
To be known and respected as the most reliable and fresh source of information in your niche, you had better be the first to your market on any information in your chosen niche. Your curator status deteriorates every time your audience finds information from your niche first somewhere else. Being the first to market is the definition of ‘owning the niche’ in content curation.
Overall I thought the video was very informative for individuals and brands who want to build audiences through content curation. Even though the information in the video was very high level in nature, there is much to be learned for those who are new to content curation. Watch Scoble’s interview video and start owning your brand’s niche today!