Curators Wanted.

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Two disruptive trends one can observe on many a marketing street corner these days are “user generated content” and “crowdsourcing.” Like them or not, they’re here. Everyone knows what user generated content is – the creation and sharing of online media content (text, pics, song and video) – but crowdsourcing is a little more inside. Crowdsourcing is the practice of offering up a creative assignment to many, who work for free (or a pittance) in the hope of having their work selected for a one-time fee.

People who participate in either of these areas are your more creative types. Crowdsourcers are often freelancers, tyros, or out-of-work, and on the UGC side the net gets wider – some of the people more creatively challenged. Both these marketing practices create the need for another function: Curation.

I once created a contest for ZDNet in which 23,000 50-word essays needed to be read and judged. “Who gonna do that?” Exactly. We hired temps for the initial culling of the herd. For a crowdsourced logo design competition with 600 entries who will evaluate the work? For an online newspaper with, 175 local stories send in my citizen reporters, who is going to decide what publishes? A curator.

Don’t be surprised to see the word curator appear more and more on Craigslist and business cards. Peace!