Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

SFCurators: Our Public, Private, And Secret Lives...

Posted by Tom Foremski - July 28, 2011

SFCurators Salon met Wednesday evening at PeopleBrowsr and I'm still buzzing from all the great conversations and ideas it generated.

We pulled our chairs into a large circle to get away from the traditional arrangement of speakers on a podium and audience down below. This is a salon of peers not podiums.

Our speakers for the evening were dotted around the circle and I acted as a moderator, armed with a large black spoon, which served as a talking stick (and whacking stick if needed :).

Going along with the idea of a "salon of peers" we sourced our speakers from within our group. Each spoke for about five minutes sharing stories about real life curation, what they look for, and how they do it. This was an evening to discuss the process of curation rather than curation tools.

Christine Mason McCaull spoke about how she helped curate local TEDxSF events; Ken Kaplan spoke about how curation is used within Intel; I stood in for Tom Abate and spoke about the role of curation in the newsroom.

The circular format was great in that it more easily allowed everyone to speak and share their stories -- not just the speakers. We covered a lot of ground and discussed more aspects of curation than I knew existed! It really is a fascinating topic.

One theme that we kept coming back to, was a discussion of novelist Gabriel García Márquez' quote: “Everyone has three lives: a public life, a private life, and a secret life,” and how that was reflected, or not, in the things that we curate and share throughout the day.

We spoke about curation as a way that shows off our public lives, crafted to say something about us, and that we are judged by the quality of our choices; and there's the private self, where a more truer nature can be expressed without worry about what clients, or others might think.

The boundaries between public and private lives seem constantly shifting especially with life streaming trends, which these days seem out of favor in some quarters. So, where are the boundaries between our public and private lives?

We have no trouble knowing where the boundary with our secret lives exists but where is the boundary between our public and private lives? Is it different according to profession, or age?

That was just one part of a great evening and a wonderful mix of people. I really like the way this group is coming together. Shel Holtz was there and he recorded much of the discussion but you really had to be there. Because it was all about conversation, which is rare.

The fast paced nature of our days doesn't encourage conversations -- we interact in brief spurts rather than converse. But with a talking stick (spoon) in your hand you are free to speak without interruption and stop when you are done. There's time to listen and think and then speak. I loved it.

I was buzzing with ideas when I got home and I woke up still buzzing, finding scrawled notes scattered around my apartment as I tried to capture some of those ideas at the point of where I was standing at the time... More to come.

If you are interested in the next SFCurators Salon find us on Facebook and request to join -- you'll be the first to hear about the next meeting and also a lot more. I'm cautious about opening it up to too many people because I really like how this group is coming together and I'm worried about bringing in too many people, too quickly. It's like making a fine mayonnaise, you need to add the oil slowly, if you dump it all in, it separates and is ruined.


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