What is a 21st Century Curator?

By: Jaime Clifton, Research Curator

Social media and the mobilization of knowledge are at the centre of my research on curation. While Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are obvious platforms to investigate, one that many shy away from is Pinterest. With millions of sales, lifestyle, and craft-oriented content, it seems there is no place for academia or non-profits. However, its framework makes it the perfect venue to share information and illuminate compelling moments of innovation. As a modern Cabinet of Curiosities, this “database of intentions” or “catalogue of ideas” is not just a social media site, but rather a repository for ideas intended to inspire users to take action—whether through crafting projects or DIY sustainable gardening. Pinterest focusses less on users and more on content, which is what differentiates it from platforms like Twitter. One of its most valuable benefits is that it unintentionally reveals what matters to people and what they find visually inspiring. This knowledge is incredibly beneficial when building your audience or locating like-minded communities on the web.

With its uplifting tone and visually engaging interface, I believe Pinterest can be utilized as a valuable curatorial tool that can make research more discoverable. Rather than focussing on the doom and gloom of climate change, pinning compelling and relatable stories and research on sustainable development (that link back to a source) will ensure this imperative stream continues to enter the Pinterest universe. While users may simply pin these stories to their boards, they may try them out for themselves. Isn’t that what Pinterest is all about?

Nature Canada Pinterest board with animals

Screenshot of Nature Canada's Pinterest Boards


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