Angela Dunn
December 28, 2013

Why You Should Curate Interests not Just Specialties Part I

Connect Over a Variety of Interests Valdis Krebs of Orgnet

Curating Content for Connection and Lifelong Learning

Connect over a variety of interests. Network Diagram by Valdis Krebs of

Many people know the value of using content curation as a tool for thought leadership. Curating content around your specialty or area of expertise, and adding a point of view, is a great way to build your thought leadership. However, many are now just beginning to understand the value of curating over a wider set of interests.

In addition to displaying your expertise, content curation can be a means to lifelong and collaborative learning. Becoming a “Generalist” is a 21st century skill set. Learning how to curate your interests can increase your chances for serendipity by allowing you to connect through valuable “weak ties” – or “friends of friends.” Weak ties drive the value of networks exponentially.

People Want to Deal with People

Sharing the many facets of who you are makes you human. It gives people more of a reason to connect with you, and your ideas.

In an advisory role with thought leaders, I spend a lot of time getting to know a client’s interests. It is these interests that will foster genuine human connection. People connect over shared interests and values. It is how content achieves relevance, and relevance leads to resonance.

Blog Categories: Underrated Step for Content Curation

A blog is often the centerpiece of one’s thought leadership and personal branding. But one of the most underestimated tasks in creating a blog is making sure your interests are reflected through purposeful and meaningful categories. I am always surprised how little attention is spent thinking about blog categories. For some, it is almost an afterthought.

Framing your blog with categories is a strategic and tactical exercise for content curation and your personal brand. Blog content is archived through categories, and these categories can be indexed in Google’s search engines. However, it is this collection of categories that will attract people to connect and learn more about you.

For a personal blog, pick four to six areas of interest for your categories. These topics should include your main areas of your expertise, but also some personal interests or areas you are exploring. Once you know the topics that will define you, you have a solid foundation for curating content around these interests on your blog and social channels. This exercise will help you naturally shape the way you curate and create content –– and make connections.

3 Ways to Start Collecting Information Around Interests

Google Alerts

Google can automatically send “alerts” to your email or feed with news around the web for keywords or topics you select. You should already have “alerts” set up monitoring your name, company, and specialty. But also set up google alerts for keywords associated with all your blog categories and hot topics. You can also set how frequently you want to receive these alerts.

Google Alerts

Hashtags and Social Search

Hashtags are the way information is organized in social channels and can easily be searched. Hashtags, which include a # sign with a keyword or phrase, started on Twitter, but now are used for discovery and search on Google Plus, Facebook, Instagram and Permamarks, to name a few.

On Twitter, you can also “save a search” for hashtags. Just remember to check the feed daily.

For example, if you are interested in “innovation”, you can save a search for #innovation through your Twitter account. This is also a great way to connect with people across different industries, but on a common topic. There is no better way to learn how to be more innovative than to look for inspiration from other industries.

Permamarks Permanent Bookmarking

Rotana Ty Permamarks Collective Learning

Rotana Ty shares content curation on “Learning” with

A lot of content curation is public – displaying the best of what you find informative and interesting. However, great curators spend a lot of time first curating “behind the scenes”  before they finally select the crème de la crème to display publicly in curated collections and lists, or on their blog.

Permamarks is a new bookmarking and archiving tool that lets you preserve web content with the option to save privately, or display publicly. With Permamarks, you have the ability to archive information around your interests before formally organizing and displaying publicly. Your permamarks can be organized in private lists of saved articles that you can later make public when you are ready to collectively share your learning and thought leadership.

These are a few tips to get you started connecting over interests! Look for more in the next installment, Part 2 on curating interests.

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