The role of curators in storytelling as tribal influencers and bankers

We are increasingly confronted by more and more content, and that is why many of us appreciate services that help us discover the gems. Google tackles the problem with advanced search algorithms, but we also rely on brands and publishers. Another solution, to the problem, is the role of the curator. Do you want to learn what curating is? Please watch the video above.

Many companies and organizations use influencers to help them reach out to people. Curators are an interesting breed of influencers. However their full potential can only be understood and appreciated through the lens of their tribes. Tribes are groups of people gathering around strong passions or emotions like hiking, gardening or ABBA. Curators do not work in isolation, but in relation to the people that share their passions.

curators-as-dumpster-divers

Curators as dumpster divers

I was in a discussion with Olga Kravets, a netnographer, and she proposed that curators serve their tribe like dumpster divers. They dive into containers to rummage through heaps of garbage to find useful stuff that can be re-purposed. When they are done they bring forth their scavenged gifts to their tribe.

Something really interesting happens in the curation process, because stories don’t have intrinsic value. An unshared story is basically like rubbish, lying around without any value. Stories gain their meaning and value by sharing, but it’s not as simple as that. The curator imparts her own value, status and trust, upon the story.

Curators represent a new type of tribal leadership that operates bottom-up and peer to peer. As a member of a tribe, curators will always be more native and relevant than any outsiders will ever be. Within a tribe they are not only appreciated for leveraging their insider skills, but for sustaining and developing their culture.

Curators can be utilized by organizations as tribal translators, guides and messengers. However their full potential as influencers must be understood in tribal contexts. Their value – and the value they share – are appraised by tribal standards. Each tribe has their own values, beliefs, purpose, ideals, and jargon. Understanding and leveraging this tribal DNA in packaging and delivery is a part of making content more relevant and valuable. (Read this blog post about the process of tribal collaboration)

Curating and sharing stories should be understood as part of a knowledge economy. If stories are tribal currency, then curators are money handlers. However, we know that stories don’t have fixed values. Does that make curators more like money changers? And if they lend their ears to outsiders, does that make them money lenders? I propose that curators are money handlers, changers and lenders all wrapped into one. They are part of a new breed of leadership that develops tribal currency through their curation and sharing..

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