One of the best definitions of a content curator that I have found is in Rohit Bahargava's Manifesto for the Content Curator: The Next Big Social Media Job of the Future. In his 2009 post Bahargava offered this description of content curators:
To satisfy the people's hunger for great content on any topic imaginable, there will need to be a new category of individual working online. Someone whose job it is not to create more content, but to make sense of all the content that others are creating. To find the best and most relevant content and bring it forward. The people who choose to take on this role will be known as Content Curators. The future of the social web will be driven by these Content Curators, who take it upon themselves to collect and share the best content online for others to consume and take on the role of citizen editors, publishing highly valuable compilations of content created by others.
Anyone who works online has already felt the overload of the information explosion. Although we try to stay current through blogging, tweeting, and social bookmarking, the tsunami of information often overwhelms us. Hence, the birth of the concept of content curators, people who cast a wide net for information, filter it and offer their own perspectives on the gathered material.
In The 5 Models of Content Curation, Bhargava suggests 5 fundamental elements of content curation: aggregation, distillation, elevation, mashup and chronology. These elements sound like tasks already performed by many people in my own PLN (personal learning network).
However, it seems that the tools for accomplishing these tasks may have improved. Steve Rosenbaum suggests some in 4 Promising Curation Tools That Help Make Sense of the Web. Barbara Bray offers a good example of one of these tools on her Scoop.it page called Curate your Learning.
Although I appreciate the concept of content curator, I'm not sure that many edubloggers or gloggers don't already do the same job with existing tools. It will be interesting to see if the newer tools used by content curators really offer any advantages in managing information. Are we witnessing an evolution of an online "content manager" from blogger to tweeter to content curator or are we just renaming the job already being handled in other ways?