Curation vs. Aggregation

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Last summer, I was teaching a class and I had a slide with a bullet that mentioned content curation vs. aggregation. Immediately a student raised her hand and asked; “What’s the difference?”

Since then I’ve been meaning to write this post and recently had it jostled from my memory when I saw it posted on Twitter from this year’s SXSW. I can’t remember who tweeted it, but it also had an excellent point.

  • My point: Aggregation is the collection of all related data with no filter. Curation is content filtered through a singular voice. Easy enough.
  • The point of the person who presented @sxsw. Aggregation is facilitated with an algorithm and curation only occurs with human intervention.

This may sound like a subtle point, but to your customers it can make a huge difference. It’s like having people Tweet for you. People can tell. (That’s the reason Barack Obama declared that if it was him sending out the tweet personally, he would include ‘-bo’.)

In order for you to become the trusted source on your niche, you need to commit to curation. It isn’t easy but it will generate real affinity and not the “plastic Like”.

By Michael Myers

I'm an Associate Teaching Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently focused on artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, biking, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive and/or surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and the art that tattooing has evolved into.

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