Prior to doing some further research on the term, the only understanding/association I had with the word “curating” was “collection.” I hadn’t truly grasped the relationship between the two. Thanks to Google, a content curator all in itself, I now realize that the process of curating requires much more than the mere collecting of material. It does not involve the production of new content, but rather, a sort of rearranging of already existing content. In Eileen Mullan’s online article, “What is Content Curation?,” she answers this question by defining it as “the act of discovering, gathering, and presenting digital content that surrounds specific subject matter…from a variety of sources, and delivering it in an organized fashion.” She then proceeds to list Facebook as a prime example of content curation, and at first, I was a little confused as to why – when I think of Facebook, I think of its endless diversity in terms of both users and content. And that’s when I realized the equal amount of significance between both the curator and his/her audience. To expand on Mullan’s example, Facebook consistently offers me two forms of curation every time I log on: 1. Whenever I click the little chat bar on the bottom right-hand corner, it provides me a list of every one of my “friends” who are currently online. However, over time, the site has learned which friends I interact with the most frequently, therefore bumping them all to the top of the list and disregarding the alphabetical order that follows further down. 2. Similarly, Facebook has also kept track of every page that I “like,” and based off of those choices, continuously suggests more and more pages that can be assumed would peak my interest.
Facebook is just one of the countless examples of content curation that we unknowingly engage in on a daily basis. Pinterest may be the most direct portrayal at the moment, given that it literally consists of you forming a collection of your interests on a virtual pin board. Then we have Pandora, which is able to provide us with a plethora of music based on what we’ve listened to in the past, as is the case with Netflix, only in regards to movies and television. Content curation is literally all around us. Even as I sit here and type this in our library, I’m surrounded by it – all of these students were selected by a specific board of curators and granted acceptance into SUNY New Paltz, based on some set of shared qualities we all evidently possess.