Technology is the ultimate enabler. With it, you can pretty much do and be whatever you want – years of education, professional certification and experience not necessarily required. Want to become a journalist? What about a DJ? A few clicks around the web and an app or two and you’ll be well on your way.
Lately it seems as if everyone is becoming a curator. Traditionally found in museums and other cultural institutions, curators are best described as content specialists. With everything becoming increasingly digitized, however, the definition of the term has evolved to include the likes of collectors, aggregators, organizers and bloggers.
Extending the term to include all of the self-proclaimed digital curators that reside on Tumblr, WordPress, Pinterest and The Hype Machine is as logical as it remains questionable. Can a passion for something really offset the lack of a formal education and professional experience? Or just to play devil’s advocate, can taste really be learned or is it something that’s inherent?
All things aside, there is something to be said for industry standards, codes of ethics and professionalism in general. Pinterest recently came under fire in The Wall Street Journal for questions pertaining to its sharing of copyrighted materials and its questionable affiliate marketing practices.
As the line between what is and isn’t legal continues to blur online amidst the actions of professional and aspiring curators, perhaps the one thing everyone can agree upon is that curators on all ends of the spectrum can benefit from playing by the rules.