To Create or Curate Content? (IV)
11 personality traits especially helpful to content curators:
Content curation is a very complex task, it takes a certain person with certain skills to be able to complete the job properly. Here is a list of characteristics that make for a competent content curator:
Content curation and Curiosity
Curiosity is essential to curating. You should have a thirst for knowledge like the blood-lust of an ancient vampire who’s been released from a thousand-year sleep.
The thirst will drive you to dedicate the time and energy to consume as much as you can.
This requires you to be open-minded (to foster a supportive environment of open dialogue and understanding) as well as sceptical (of all the fake information out there).
A curator should entail expert-like knowledge of a subject. Learning increases resolution: the more you know about something, the more you can truly appreciate its details. Including the slightness in differences of traits, qualities and weaknesses. Content curation is possibly the best way to learn the most about a subject.
You do this by reading up on the topic; interviewing established experts; collecting, researching, and analysing resources, data, trends and statistics.
You should also try to facilitate discussions with fellow fanatics and scholars. When I say fanatics, I mean those who don’t have a formal education in the subject, but are regarded as valuable and trustworthy experts. Always consider and compare differing viewpoints and question established assumptions.
Then you write about it.
Strong ethics in content curation
Content curators regard a set of strong values that one strives to adhere to during decision making, thereby filtering out ones own reality.
A curator’s values will define the scope of the ‘net’ they throw to ‘catch’ information.
Whether it’s a small net with big holes (not very useful to catch the good yet tiny bits) or a large net with medium holes (optimal to ensure a wide scope and good quality), this plays a large part in the way as well as what one curates.
Ask yourself why you do what you do, and what you stand for. Challenge yourself, travel, experience as much as you can!
Alternative traditions and cultures will open your eyes to many realities and thoughts that you might not previously have considered. This will lead to you discovering a lot more about yourself and your ethical standpoint.
Transparency – Disclosure
Curators thrive on credibility and trust. Transparency, the conscious decision to not keep secrets or hide personal information for one’s own benefit, is imperative to curation. Share your motives and interests, especially if they may be interpreted as a conflict of interest.
The audience has a right to know the motives of a curator, to know what drives and rewards them, so as to afford a level of trust that is not superficial.
Hardly anyone wants to read content picked out of a personal whim, they require cold hard facts about their interests, or an interesting perspective that they would never have previously considered.
To identify deeply with another person or group is essential to content curation.
Since the aim is to answer the questions posed by the audience, it is important to connect with who the audience is, their language; needs; interests and expectations, to find out what they would like to know.
Personal voice within content curation
The personal voice is a personal view on a specific topic, shared with the public. A content curator is not objective, no. We do not keep a distance from the subject matter nor the collections we create. The job entails bringing in one’s bias, prejudice, perspective and opinion to any and all pieces created.
Content curators are highly involved with the subject and content. Content curators actively question the value of information, rationally analyse to identify key strengths and weaknesses and always offer their own perspective.
It can be said that a curator without a strong voice is nothing.
Pattern recognition in content curation
The ability to easily recognise similar information patterns across a range of completely different contexts or appearances.
It’s an invaluable skill to be able to identify trends or the emergence of novel ideas before others. This entails a devotion of more time to the study of your topic; curate more; pay increased attention to detail, nuances and subtle traits that are easily overlooked.
Organisation and content curation
Is the ability to recognise similar items, logically group and label (categorise) them in an order to ensure easy navigation through the information.
To curate content is to make sense out of chaos. To create the logical, clear organisation of information leads to better understanding of concepts.
Attention to detail
Involves being aware of and sensitive to the care for small, sometimes seemingly insignificant items or details that are part of something.
To do this you must dedicate ample time to the content curation process; ensure a peer-review of the content, generate comments and feedback to it and double review it (yes, I’m serious).
Being thorough, analysing things within a systematic procedure, executing high precision tasks without leaving anything to chance.
Content curation is about being precise and giving quality information, there’s no way to do this without having a system of categorisation.
Check, vet and verify. Always.
Is the ability to wait for extended periods of time without losing focus or sight of the objective.
Patience is a core trait that is needed in order to allow ample time for a curated collection to develop. Research and content curation take time. The value is not found in the speed of which you can operate, but how well you can understand the topic and present the information.
Another way to look at content curation is to imagine it as a distillation process. You start with a vast quantity of subject matter, and systematically sift and refine all the material until you have a pure concentration. A potent, 100% extract.
Your ultimate goal being to dose your audience with undiluted shots of pure, useful information to facilitate their understanding on a particular subject.
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