Friday, October 16, 2009

Day 62 - Designing your own "dream job"

Every second, thousands of people are posting online status updates; every hour, we see thousands of new videos uploaded. Blog posts are being written and published by the millions. Now, cluttering this social media landscape even further, we have millions of "tweets," more short messages to share. More and more content is being shared via mobile phones. Enough!

This onslaught of creative content is too much for many people, especially some of my friends over-50. Until recently, we had relatively few technologies at our disposal to manage the information overload. We were at the mercy of "algorithmic" search - what most of us know as Google (yes, I know, and a few other search engines). Yesterday, I mentioned StumbleUpon, a social bookmarking/content sharing tool that's actually been around for awhile, just like Digg and Do you think these "collector" tools are really enough to solve the ever-increasing problem of too much online social media? (You may recall the term "collector" from my previous post on the "Social Technographics Profile.")

According to a feature in SocialMediaToday, in only a few years we may reach the point where all information on the Internet doubles every 72 hours. Imagine that! I don't even have an adjective that effectively describes the monster we're creating here. We, the collective people of the world, are generating more information than even we can imagine. One predictable result is that companies have begun to focus more on content creation, especially as they add social media to the marketing mix. Many forward-thinking corporate execs are using social media to listen to what consumers are asking for, and then use the same online audiences (fans, friends, members) to create this wonderful thing called "buzz" about their products and brands.

But who is going to make sense of all this media as more and more goes out into the ether? Is it by chance or by luck that businesses hope to catch the eye of the consumers who need their specific products? I have a new job in mind - one that would pay its own way for any number of companies. The time I've spent and the advanced education I've received has been with good reason. Any corporation today can benefit from a full-time employee - well educated, with excellent business sense, someone honest and trustworthy - who can sift through all the online content and choose the best material for corporate consumption, the best sites to pursue buzz marketing, and the best places to advertise. Yes, they can.

The position I just described does not really exist - yet. Still, I am not alone in thinking this is an idea whose time has come. I've got a certain skillset, 30 years in the making, that's ready to be put to productive use. If such a position did exist, what could we call it? I'm thinking "Web Archivist" or "Social Media Manager."

Blogger Rohit Bhargava at SocialMediaToday has a name for the job already - Content Curator. Defined as: "Someone who continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on specifics issues online." Note that the key component in this job description is the word "continually." In the real time world of the Internet, this is critical. If you look at how many people are using Twitter accounts to highlight interesting bits of online content or how users have been tagging and sharing content for years, you will see that the concept has built up some steam.

Here's Bhargava's manifesto describing the new position: "To satisfy the people's hunger for great content on any topic imaginable, there will need to be a new category of individual working online. Someone whose job it is not to create more content, but to make sense of all the content others are creating. To find the best and most relevant content and bring it forward. The people who choose to take on this role will be known as Curators. The future of the social web will be driven by these "Content Curators," who take it upon themselves to collect and share the best content online for others to consume. They will assume the role of citizen editors, publishing highly valuable compilations of content. In time, these curators will bring more utility and order to the social web. In doing so, they will add a voice and point of view to organizations and companies that can connect them with customers - creating an entirely new dialogue based on valued content rather than just brand created marketing messages.

His manifesto actually sums up what I've been trying to accomplish here in my own blog. Hopefully, something similar will become available in corporate communications departments for those of us currently honing the knowledge and skills to provide such a service.

Graduation is right around the corner for many of us, but it's never too early to start searching for the perfect job. If it doesn't exist, we can create it for ourselves!


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