The web is big. Really big. And it's getting much bigger, much faster, than ever before. And finding anything worth reading online is getting more and more difficult. And while the googlers valiantly battle back the onslaught with math, there are other ways to sort through the mess. For example, people. Karin Conroy of Lawyerist defines a content curator as:
someone who makes sense of the enormous amount of information available online and presents it in a consistent and trustworthy way so that their followers respect their expertise in knowing and recognizing trends and relevant information.
And it is this consistency and trustworthiness that I would suggest distinguishes a curator from someone who merely aggregates.
Will the current method that Google uses to organize the web eventually fail to be able to keep up with the amount of data available on the internet? I'm not entirely convinced of that yet. However, curators who gather and sort data and content within your interests is already here. If you think about it, this is exactly what news media, bloggers, and others that share online do. They become sources of curated content.
This concept of being a content curator is especially powerful for developing trust and authority as a legal professional. Lexblog founder Kevin O'Keefe has a great understanding of the value of curating content. Here is what Kevin had to say on curating social media content in February of this year:
Why curate? Audience demands for new ways to tell stories seem to be on the rise -- plus there's growing acceptance of social media as a source for news, per Pollak.
I'm a big fan of curation, or at least where it appears to be headed, for the same reason as Pollak. Curation of legal content will help people discover the most meaningful content and people. ALM is sitting on a golden asset - talented writers, editors, and publishers who can use their journalism skills to identify and curate the best in legal commentary.
It's impossible for a traditional legal publisher to cover and provide relevant commentary on niche issues as well as they can be covered by people with domain expertise. In the law, it's lawyers publishing for collaborative learning and to enhance their reputations who have the passion, insight, and expertise to cover niches.
Kevin really gets the value of being a curator which is why he dedicates so many resources to helping lawyers to become curators of their blogs. I had the opportunity to speak with on this subject at the ABA Techshow. Keep your eye out for some exciting new ways of consuming legal content from Lexblog.
To me, being an effective content curator requires being a disciplined content consumer. Develop a great list of sources on your subject. Make it a regular habit to listen to what these sources are saying about your subject. Weave your voice and expertise into the content that you curate. Work to become a recognized and trusted source of curated content. Not only is this a powerful way to gain a larger consistent readership, it is also very beneficial in terms of building search engine traffic.