Monday, November 2, 2009

Web Curators

On October 19th, I attended a Baruch College's Lunch and Learn. The speaker was none other than Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist. He has some very interesting perspectives about social media and is very passionate about "governance" as it relates to society and the internet.

One of the topics of his talk that I found most interesting is the subject of information "curators." This term appears to be the latest buzz word that mass media content developers use to describe their role in the webosphere. Analogous to an art museum curator whose job is to manage or oversee the collection of works owned or on exhibit. A web "curator" decides what is worthy of publishing to the masses, whether it is news, music, videos or any information. Traditionally, information curators are the news media, music labels, movie studios, etc. Now in a web 2.0/3.0 world we witnessing a dramatic shift where the roll of the curator is becoming obsolete. As more and more user generated content and eyeballs coexist on the web it will become more difficult for a news editor or music producer to act as gatekeepers of data. Therefore it is critical to embrace this change rather than resist. It seems music labels are record labels are slowly adapting to this trend. The big challenge is with news organizations. Whether it is newspapers, magazines or television, how do you justify your roll as a gatekeeper news if your audience often has better access to news information?