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The Rise of the Social Media Curator
Posted on April 26th 2012
The Internet is a mess. There’s so much information out there that it’s a blessing we can find anything at all. Sure, you can ask Google for a hint, as long as you know what you’re looking for. But when it comes to discovering new and inspiring things on the Internet, Google isn’t helping at all.
Which is why we need filters. Fortunately, Internet filters exist, and they come in the form of social media curators. They’re like your friend who lives around the corner who you can always call to suggest a new pizza place that you’ll love. They sift through and aggregate the endless amount of information on the Internet and present us with the best of the best.
Whether they are posting to a standalone site that brings together the best content of the Web, or constantly tweeting links to the information that you want to see, these curators spend their time as the Internet’s funnel and educate you as to what’s happening in the areas you care about most. Making it a habit of checking in on these sites and online personalities will keep you updated and stimulated by news and content from a constantly flowing and replenishing pool of information.
- Maria Popova is a cultural curator and writer at Wired, the Atlantic and many other publications. Her site brainpickings.org may be the best example of a social media curator’s job. The site combines all types of media from the four corners of the web to not only keep you interested in the most recent updates from the wired-in world, but also inspires you with the creativity and herculean efforts from the people and organizations around the world. Maria’s site reminds you why the Internet is so amazing, because it breeds creation and reaches the masses.
- Josh Rubin and Evan Orenstein aggregate media on their site, coolhunting.com that brings together the latest innovations in design, culture and technology. They broadcast their content over multiple social media sites and even have an app that makes browsing through their content effortless. Their site design is top of the line and their information on technology will help you track and monitor the stylistic trends in the industry.
- Jean Aw is the girl behind, NOTCOT.com, a hyper-visual aggregation site that uses pictures and videos to broadcast the latest news from everything from tech to travel. Her site is a lot like the rest of the sites on this list, but perhaps with a better feel for what’s currently popular. By keeping a very specific eye out for content on the web, she creates a site with a definite attitude and identity, while simultaneously delivering valuable content.
When you think about the amount of information on the Internet, a social media curator’s job seems impossible. However, everyone practices forms of curation with word-of-mouth suggestions, everyday. We even practice curation with our preferences of which sites we spend our time on.
So while the Internet may seem big and scary, curation is happening all around us. It becomes manageable. And the sites we choose to spend our time on and the channels in which we look for content benefit. What separates the people on this list is not only that they’ve found a niche and stuck to it, but they've created platforms and networks that allow their content curation to thrive.
In the future, content curation is going to be an incredibly important part of managing the Internet. Google can’t do it with an algorithm (Although they’ll will try, with a product like Google+). But Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are heading there. Every new feature on these sites is geared towards exchanging information and content from known sources: your friends.
The new battle for the Internet will be for a platform or system to find and distribute the “best” content out there. Does it exist already? Whoever wins will be up to us and our friends to decide.
by Thomas Samph