That’s right. A unique perspective is what sets apart a website that curates content from a site that aggregates content. It is important to acknowledge and appreciate this distinction as it is the difference between reading a critical interpretation of a classic as opposed to the CliffsNotes version of it.
It has been over a year and half since Rohit Bhargava’s interesting blog about the how content curators are going to rule the virtual world. There really is a flood of content growing virtually by the minute – I am sure all of us committed to Postaday2011 are playing a part in all this. And there are innumerable websites which are trying to cull the most interesting, most funny, most irreverent, most useful and most articulate of the content for their regular readers.
I find that the websites that capture my attention and hold it are the ones that approach the curating with a clear and unique perspective. This gives a website a distinctive voice. Brain Pickings is an excellent example of how curating can be an elegant exercise. It is worth remembering here that the word curate was originally used in the context of musuems and art shows – the curator took on the role of finding interesting art or other exhibits that could be presented together to convey an idea, to explore a concept or to communicate a philosophy. Content curators will do well to keep this in mind. This will also answer the criticism of those who see content curation as derivative; as not being original. Given the vast quantity of original content floating around in the social networks, I am not sure original always trumps interpretation!
For all the algorithm changes in Google, and for offers such as the customized search engines, I think there is still need for a human angle. I think the analogy of a photographer framing a shot pleases me in this context because it also captures the difference between the amateurs and the professionals. Yes, there are many people who can curate content but I think some people stand out because of their special angles and their attention to detail.
So, where do you go for curated content? What are some of you favorite hang-out places on the web? Do share.