DigitalNow 2012: Learning to Become Content Curators
Focus Group Author Steven Rosenbaum, far right, talked with association executives about battling digital overload at the final session of DigitalNow 2012.
n a world drowning in data, the phrase “surfing the web” now sounds quaint, Steven Rosenbaum said in
the closing session at DigitalNow 2012, held on April 25–28 at the Disney Con- temporary Resort Convention Center in Orlando’s Walt Disney World. The huge wave of digital information
that comes our way every day is grow- ing at a rate that isn’t sustainable, said Rosenbaum, author of Curation Nation: How to Win in a World Where Consumers Are Creators. “How many of you check your email in the middle of the night?” he asked the audience. “As a culture, we are falling off a cliff. There’s too much noise — and too little of it is relevant.” But the data deluge, he added, gives associations a unique opportunity: to cut through the clutter and fun- nel meaningful information to their
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overwhelmed members. “The asset that associations bring to the party is qual- ity and depth within a narrow focus,” he said. “The world needs thoughtful filters.” Associations won’t succeed by cranking out more and more content, Rosenbaum predicted, but by using their deep knowledge of their members’ needs and interests to tailor informa- tion to fit. “Content is no longer king,” he said. “Curation is king.” Co-produced by Fusion Productions and the Disney Institute, DigitalNow was one of the first conferences to apply the word “digital” to meetings when it launched 12 years ago. This year’s conference brought more than 300 association and nonprofit leaders to Walt Disney World, where the conversa- tion centered less on the mechanics of technology than on the ways in which
it can be used to connect members and personalize information. That shift was reflected in the conference’s breakout sessions, which offered case studies on such topics as segmenting information to meet member needs and building engaged online communities. DigitalNow also partnered with Association Media & Publishing to develop content that addressed digital publishing platforms and strategy, including a plenary and breakout session with Samir Husni, a professor of journalism and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi. Like Rosenbaum, Husni stressed the importance of content curation. Now that anyone can be a content creator, he said, editors and publishers “have to be experience makers. Get your audience