During “The Age of Collaboration” Minns Lecture, I spoke of curating as one of the faithful spiritual practices for our digital age. Curating has two parts: the practice of noticing and sharing the good and weeding out the distracting and detrimental.
Every vibrant faith tradition has lively dialogue and people creating and sharing goodness in many ways. Thanks to inexpensive and free blogging tools and sites, more and more of that dialogue and goodness is shared via the blogs, and from there through other social media. As the number of blogs proliferate, curating is required. Why? We cannot read everything, and everything we read is not going to lead us into stronger spiritual practice or more active and engaged faithing.
One can be a connective faith leader by practicing good noticing what is worth noticing and sharing it, and helping us through the sea of ideas, stories, songs, service projects, and ethical actions to what we can implement, retell, sing, and join. No one faith leader will be the best curator for any one religion. And those who curate effectively are always noticing and sharing what other significant curators are noticing and sharing.
Good spiritual curation requires knowing one’s mission and gifts and what is likely to be helpful to one’s spiritual and faith communities.
Aggregators and blogrolls are tools for curation. UUpdates is one of the best tools for Unitarian Universalist faith curators, since it is a blog aggregator (blogs meeting particular guidelines can be registered and their feeds added), not a blogroll (an already curated list of blogs). Both blogrolls and aggregators are good things in our digital age, but I prefer aggregators because then I am introduced regularly to voices and issues that might not surface in my RSS reader (which is one way to have a personal blogroll, as opposed to a public list on your website).
Becoming a regular part of a network of curators (we all can curate!) is another important tool. There are few social media curation networks I can visit on a daily basis when I don’t find something worth sharing. Pinterest and Twitter are my favorite social media curation network homes. But others prefer Instagram, Tumblr, Kleek, YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook.
There is a lot of good being created and shared in the world, and noticing that goodness changes us. When I can slip into a social media network for a few minutes and meet a spiritual piece that challenges me to be better, a song that sustains me through difficulty, or an act of generosity and witness that calls me to join it, that abundance changes my perspective on the day. Hope is being made real in all kinds of places and ways. We have only to notice and share it, join it, and risk making it real ourselves.