Robin is an online independent publisher, passionate explorer of new media technologies, and the founder of MasterNewMedia, an e-magazine for professional web publishers. He is also one of the reasons why I am in the field myself.
Why did you decide to become a curator?
I really never decided to become a content curator. I started collecting and organizing things since I was a kid. I got the highest grade awarded in my high school by making a poster with the full taxonomic index of the universe of insects.
As a teenager I spent many years first as a private-party DJ and then as an FM radio personality, which required me to keep myself very updated on new music releases and in finding new and original ways to mix them.
As an independent online publisher, even before I started my own site at MasterNewMedia.org, my first outlet was the newsletter, at the time called MasterMind Explorer, which collected, organized and curated my own reviews and insights into new tools and methods to communicate more effectively with technology.
Around 2003-2004, I realized and envisioned the potential for what we now call content curation, and started to curate a breaking news feed containing the very best content for my readers by picking and selecting the most relevant news coming from other relevant news sites and blogs.
I mostly owe to Robert Scoble’s and Stephen Downes’ writings my realization that curating news and content had a potentially huge value, much earlier than when the word content curation was officially brought onto the stage by Rohit Barghava in 2009.
What benefits has curation brought you?
By curating content, my key benefit is that I create information spaces where I myself can find what I am looking for, rapidly and efficiently, and at the same time I have something of real value to share with those who have my same interests.
There is so much information out there that if I didn’t save and organize what is relevant to me, it would be impossible for me to find the resources, concepts and references that I often need for my work.
Another key benefit that curating content has brought me is that I have learned, made sense and comprehended a lot more about what I have read, studied and reviewed/tested than if I had just done these tasks as I see most of my colleagues and competitors do.
What is your top tip for great curation?
Look where others are not looking. That’s where gems are.
Dig deep, explore, and be open to be surprised. But, be disciplined and focused or you will be swept away inside the information rabbit hole.
What’s the best example of curated post you have ever read?
I don’t have one specific post that I’d like you to look at, but I do have a number of curators that can be of inspiration and model. Start with these:
- Maria Popova – Curiosity and culture
- Robert Scoble – Technology and startups
- Peter Bogaards – Information Design
(As a curator I don’t like to shine the lights on me. My job is the opposite — to shine the lights on other people’s work, tools, ideas and letting others discover what may have never come across their typical path.)
Is there a content curator you would like to see featured in this series? Feel free to share their name in the comment section below.