I value great thought curators higher in my social stream than I do thought leaders. Crazy, I know, but it is true. Great curators add value to my life by saving me time, bringing me concepts I would have never found on my own, and giving me a safe place to gain insight I otherwise would have missed.
I despise buzzwords in social media marketing. They just add noise, and the last thing we need in social media is more noise. “Thought leaders” is by far the most ridiculous label that’s in use today. Having a real leadership position on anything takes a cocktail that most are not willing to commit to. Being a thought leader takes a very rare mix of passion, discipline, focus and an insane amount of courage. Even if you have the right mix of content, knowledge and insight, being the leader is not always the most valuable position. Being a curator can be extremely powerful.
Curator comes from the latin curare, meaning to “take care.” Taking care of the information that most affects your audience is just plain awesome. Imagine being the one that your audience trusts taking care of what they need to know, when they need to know it, and how they should think about it. That is a position in my audience’s life I would want.
I am an addict of all things Indiana Jones. Since I was young, the stories, movies, and comics of Indiana Jones stirred my soul. Exotic travels, palpable danger at every corner, historical finds and the fight of right vs. wrong were themes that I latched onto. The character that most intrigued me though was not Indy (or Short Round for that matter) but Indy’s longtime friend, the Marcus Brody, the museum director.
Marcus is the character we candidly do not know enough about. Indy’s adventures to find some of the world’s most important historical items took the limelight, but it was Marcus who wanted the world to know why they were so important. Brody cared desperately that the world know the context of the treasure. He wanted people to experience history. See it. Touch it. Study it. Brody knew the world would be a better place by having these artifacts organized and in a place where history could come to life. The Ark of the Covenant sitting in a government storage facility had to have killed Brody. Having such a profoundly important artifact sitting somewhere that meant no one could see it, study it, or process the personal meaning it had on them was a crime. Do not commit the same crime by letting your audience miss out on the most important artifacts in your world of influence.
Find yourself a couple of Indy’s for your world. Find those rare people who are out discovering the valuable information for your audience. Once you have those explorers identified, be their Marcus Brody. Be the curator that organizes those finds, puts them in a neatly organized safe place where the world can come study. Protect those finds and give your audience the chance to experience them. Be a great curator of ideas. Your audience will value you.