Our Lord of Curation series presents to you some of the great curators on Scoop.it. They are here to share their insights and advice with you.
Tony Rath is a professional photographer based along the shore of the Caribbean Seain the picturesque town of Dangriga, Belize.
He is a trained marine biologist and has worked as a diver and underwater photographer for the Smithsonian Institution; diving on oil rigs off California; and captaining a sailboat across the Atlantic Ocean and through the Mediterranean and North Seas. Tony first visited Belize in 1979, and moved there permanently in 1988. Since then he has explored and photographed most of Belize by land, sea and air. He has also photographed the neighboring countries of Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico.
He founded, along with his wife Therese, Naturalight Productions, Belize’s premiere Internet marketing company. He now leads the special projects division of the company. The company created and manages numerous award winning websites.
-What is curation to you?
To me, curation is a natural off-shoot of the information flow from RSS feeds, websites and mailing lists that I have been reading and collecting for years. Information and learning has always been a personal passion, and finding ways to organize this vast amount of data in a way that was not only meaningful, but retrievable was problematic – think Zoot, MySQL/php, Evernote, and all the social bookmarking sites. Sharing with friends was sporadic and singular. With the arrival of Scoop.it
, a paradigm shift from a personal information database to a social network took place. My interest and expertise could now be made available almost seemlessly with my normal workflow, to an interested audience. So at this point, curation is Scoop.it
-What is your best curating secret?
The most critical aspect of curating for me is sources. Build and manage your sources so you are assured of a timely, accurate and useful information flow within your topic. As your source list grows, you will become more confident that you are not missing relevant articles, and those articles you do chose to present are both accurate and helpful.
A related but as yet unproven “secret” – and one I haven’t sufficiently developed yet – is to cultivate a viewership that buys into the topic, recognizes the value of the topic, and begins to submit articles or sources. If viewers see value in either just contributing for fun, or as a means to increase their own social profile, the topic becomes all the more valuable.
Finally, read before sharing. Know what it is that you are curating for others.
-How has curation enriched your social media experience?
To date, I have gotten far more from following other topics completely unrelated to mine, then from meeting people in my own topic. That may be a function of knowing many in the tourism industry here in Belize. I look forward to viewing the “Follow” tab every morning to see what interesting items my fellow curators have discovered, and which I might subsequently re-scoop.
The organized curation that Scoop.it
allows, has also taught me to quickly discern the artificial from the real. Individuals and businesses that have bought into the social media hype of quantity over quality, begin to dominate and degrade the social media sphere around their industry. As Scoop.it
grows, and the general public becomes aware of the resource, I think everyone’s social media experience will be enriched from this tool and the dedicated curators.
-How can social media be helpful in the field of tourism?
This is a huge topic of which volumes could be written. In Belize, we have had a plethora of “experts”, workshops and conferences trying to convince the tourism industry how to use social media their way. As a result, some are trying to game the system with quantity, generating noise and the resulting problems I alluded to above.
I believe Social Media can be a major tool for tourism if it is:
1. Real. By that I mean authentic, with all the blemishes and beauty that every country has.
2. Trustworthy. This is related to #1, people will eventually discover the validity of information from any source.
3. Attractive. Scoop.it
provides an easy to view, easy to navigate layout.
4. Two way. There does need to be some kind of conversation … I am sure Scoop.it
is looking at this for future upgrades.
5. Timely. No need to curate old news unless you are archiving for future reference.
6. Quality over quantity. Flooding the social networks with veiled advertising not only hurts you in the long run, but also drowns out others in the industry trying to contribute.
Our Lord of Curation series continues next week. Stay tuned!