When you watch a TED video, you're in for a remarkable journey. Each presenter has been discovered, considered, and carefully programed into a collection of unique intellectual explorations.
Long before the word was part of daily conversation, the process of selecting and programing TED was described by the conferences chief organizer as Curation. TED's curation journey has been a remarkable one—from what was once a private event attended by hundreds, to what is now a rich public collection of curated content that is shared widely through its website, YouTube, ABC News, NPR and media partners around the world. TED—for which my company, Magnify.net, powers video curation—has shared its content and even its brand with a rapidly growing audience. Using the wisdom of the crowd and the passion to program local TED events, TED three years ago launched TEDx—community-curated events that can license the TED brand if they follow a guidebook of policies and practices.
Today, TED has taken it a step further, turning to their friends and fans to determine what matters most, allowing the process of which talks make it to the TED main stage to be considered and endorsed by the audience. Crowd curation comes home. More on that in a moment.
The idea of breaking down barriers between big, quality brands and voices from new and emerging sources isn't limited to TED. In fact, smart marketers are embracing curation as a way to build authenticity and audience engagement in some unlikely ways.
Take for example, GE's storytelling site Ecomagination.com (whose video curation my company powers). In years past, it would have been a collection of brand commercials and a few press releases from corporate. But today, Ecomagination is both created and curated. A frothy mix of articles, videos, and images created inside GE and gathered from outside. Curated content about batteries, green innovation, locomotives, and sustainability all created by voices outside of GE, but selected and presented within the Ecomagination framework.
"Our social content is the connective tissue that brings our company to life in a highly transparent, accessible way" says Linda Boff, Executive Director, Global Digital Marketing at GE. She says curated content and social media has changed the relationshp between GE and the broader community. "It allows people to experience our brand in ways we never expected. We’ve found when we’re able to tell relevant stories in ‘always-on’ channels, we build relationships between our brand and people who share our passion and interests, which is the most powerful form of marketing out there." You can explore GE's curated video channel here.
The power of embracing knowledge—finding wisdom and insight where it lives and brining it to your visitors, members, and customers—is changing the way we share and learn.
It should come as no surprise that world leading organizations like TED and GE are embracing both discovery and curation, and exploring was to open their brands to the wisdom of their crowds.
TED's decision to take its content-discovery process on the road, and invite the public to view the TED Talks auditions is an effective way to embrace openness. By inviting viewers to both vote and comment on potential speakers, TED's curators will get to listen to new voices and be exposed to the global TED community. "It was a remarkable experience to travel the globe and be blown away by unexpected people," Chris Anderson, TED’s curator, wrote on TED's blog. "We want to share this experience and open the selection of next year’s speakers to the world. We’re confident that the combination of this global search, paired with feedback from around the world, will create a thrilling lineup of the young, wise, and undiscovered." You can view the videos and comment on them at talentsearch.ted.com (which, along with TEDx, is also powered by Magnify.net).
In a world of digital overload, we're all looking for ways to dial down the flow of undifferentiated information. Inviting the brands and communities we trust to be part of our curatorial filter is a trend that's only going increase as we embrace new trusted filters.
Steven Rosenbaum is the CEO of Magnify.net <http://Magnify.net/> - a web content curation platform that powers video curation for TEDx, the TED global talent search, and GE's Ecomagination video channel.
[Image: Flickr user Jeff Golden]