Curating on #dcurate

How to be an effective digital curator? is an on-line open course set up by @burrough and @martincouzins on a social learning platform called Curatr.

This “FLOOC” started on 8th January and was originally planned for 2 weeks. It has now been extended till 29th Jan, which is great news 1) it gives more time for participants to catch-up with all the conversations taking place on the platform 2) it allows me to take a breath and come here to think back on what I have learned so far 3) and that creates the opportunity to practice and apply some of the insights from the course…

So here is it. Without any pretension. Just a short summary of what I am trying to articulate as my main “half-baked” takeaways so far.

What is Curation ?
Maria Popova – professional curator at – says : “Curation is all about pattern-recognition, seeing how various and diverse pieces of content fit together under the same taste umbrella or along the same narrative path, so the guiding principle has to be the sole storyteller with a strong point of view.

In another interview she described a curator as “a catalyst enabling the global conversation, operating in a networked ecosystem of meaning that helps us better understand the world and each other.

That last part “understand each other” caught my attention…  I didn’t necessarily see it like this before. What if digital curation is not only a way to make sense, increase expertise and separate “signals from the noise”, but also a contemporary way to help people better communicate, strengthen their community feeling and collaborate more efficiently with each other in this increasingly complex world ?

Like many other participants in the course, I also found that presentation by @corinnew was a brilliant overview of what curation is or not (curation vs. aggregation/creation).

Why Curation ?

That enthusiastic intervention (2min) from @RobinGood is certainly a great motivator for me to start curating more seriously :


Why am I interested in curation personally ? My first answer would be simply : I “cannot not curate”. Most of the time I do it just for myself and my own personal and professional development. I am curious about many things and I tend to immerse myself fully in a topic before I can connect the dots and it starts making sense for me. I don’t like staying at the surface or being spoon-fed. Which means a lot of information to process!

In that process I started using Twitter as a search engine, partly to avoid the Google Top10 syndrome. Then I realised that Twitter was best used to share and connect with people. Gradually I have discovered that actually the more I share, the more I learn ! This was particularly true during my 1st MOOC experience with #xplrpln back in November.

In my current EMEA HR role, one of my projects is to build up across the region a dedicated on-line platform for market knowledge and business intelligence. It’s a great collaborative project but also quite frustrating : as soon as the information is there – formatted, on brand, clean and approved – most of it is obsolete already…

Knowledge has become a process rather than a product. G. Siemens

That’s why I am looking at how to promote a smarter way to curate and share that information internally. How and why employees can use social media and digital curation, not only to enhance their personal brand (externally/internally), but also for their own professional development and to increase their collaborative skills.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Maimonides

What are my intentions ?

Watching that short – but essential – video from Ross Dawson (1min), I guess my intentions with digital curation can be located on all 3 levels he describes.

Not entirely sure about the order for 1) and 2) though…
1) Develop my own expertise
2) Contribute
3) Online presence

Where to start ?

Here I have listed a few tools which I think can help me become a more effective curator :

User-friendly news/magazines/blogs reader. I have systematically unsubscribed from all the newsletters I used to get by email and sent them to that tool. I also try to regularly feed this reader with new blogs I discover along the way. It’s very easy to create different categories on Feedly, and then to read or skip through what you need when you need it.

Twitter (and Twitter Lists & Hashtags)
Read @ActivateLearn’s “How to build your peer learning network when you don’t have time?” At the bottom of this article you can also read @tanyalau’s comment about her own experience with Twitter.

Also read Maria Popova’s views about Twitter in her interview with Nieman Lab

Very useful social media dashboard to keep track of different topics (via #), schedule your tweets, shrinks links, see your mentions on Twitter and participate in Twitter Chats (and much more than that if you need it as a marketing tool). You can also subscribe to a Premium free trial that gives you access to a huge amount of resources from Hootsuite University.

I discovered that read-later App thanks to one of Sam’s comments in the course. It works fine and allows me to read articles offline. Great for the tube ! But also I think I might use it as an extra filter for what will be send to my library on Diigo or not. That process should also help me better tag what I send there… since I going to read (part of) the content beforehand (doh!)

Life saver! A social bookmarking site where I can centralise all my findings with annotations and tags. It comes with the possibility to create groups and share specific bookmarks with specific targets.

The following tools I am not using on a very regular basis yet, but will try to give them a proper go soon :

Peartrees – I like the serendipitous aspect of that tool and it’s design, although it is a bit too small on my smartphone. – It looks a bit overwhelming for me at the moment but I need to explore it further for sure.

 Storify (for sharing) – I still remember that brilliant Storified story during our #xplrn MOOC on “how we would define PLN to our mum”… A great example on how to brings more narrative to Twitter.

The idea here is not to multiply these tools indefinitely but to find those that work best for me and allow me to power my curation efforts, build-up my PLN further and make my contribution more valuable.

Read also Allan Johnson’s article where he shares his own Twitter workflow and suggests several tools and apps to help academics make the most of their valuable time in contributing and curating content.

About the #dcurate course.

The amount of resources shared by the organisers is quite impressive and the way the platform is designed encourages discussions between participants. I miss a place inside the platform (other than email notifications) where to see replies and comments on my posts to make it easy to follow on conversations. A few help buttons here and there could be useful too.

The gamified approach is also new for me. I am not a super competitive person by nature but I decided to “play the game”. Maybe that brought me to comment and reply to other’s comments more than I might have done normally. Aha – when competition brings conversation ! Well done to the platform designers.

I can relate to some of Jo‘s views on her blog. Sometimes I thought I had nothing really to say or I was repeating myself. By making the efforts to write down comments and answers, I started realising I had more to say than I thought originally and some ideas got clearer. And now of course I  consider how I could have been more concise in some of my comments! Or to echo John Didion quoted in Jo’s blog…

“Ce que l’on conçoit bien s’énonce clairement. Et les mots pour le dire arrivent aisément.” Nicolas Boileau

OK that’s it for now, time to get back to the course for the final week…

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5 Responses to Curating on #dcurate

  1. Great post, Cedric, so thanks for sharing your thoughts on the course. Be interesting to hear how you get on with your organisation as I think curation offers great opportunities for individual, team and organisational development.

    • cedbo says:

      Thanks Martin. #dcurate course and conversations are certainly of great inspiration. Hopefully it’s contagious… have been asked to present something soon on this internally so let’s see indeed!

  2. Kate Herzog says:

    A superb post, Cedric. Reminds me that I intend to grab the things that ‘resonated’ with me to ponder & share out. Kudos.

  3. Pingback: My Curation Engine |

  4. Pingback: #Socialleadership : curation, reputation and social capital |

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