My Quick Take on Content Curation

Baseball card of Pete Wood.
Image via Wikipedia

Smells like a trend, but it’s something people have been doing for a long time, only the tools are changing, sparking all kinds of inspiration.

Forever people have been curating things they care about like albums, CDs, art, books, baseball cards.. Nowadays I’m collecting more things online from news, info on particular topics, photos and videos thanks to Internet tools Flipboard, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Pearl Trees.

One of my favorites is Scoop.It, who asked me to describe what inspires me to curate and share my interests.  Please give it a read and let me know your approach to curating.

Lord of Curation Series — Ken Kaplan

What is curation to you?

Curation is an act of discovery and expression that collectively, at anytime, reveals a digital mosaic of who you are and who you are becoming. I curate news articles, tech reviews, tips for photography and video making, and stories about people doing innovative things. This is content I identify myself with or want to be identified with and share with the world.

When I was a kid, I liked collecting baseball cards. I’d aim for getting as many different cards depicting my favorite players. Next I’d work on getting each player to complete the roster of my favorite teams. Curating content stirs inside me a similar desire to collect, absorb, organize and share or trade with friends. When I’m curating information and media online, I’m collecting bits and pieces of I need to grow my interests. These pieces somehow reflect of my personality, values and knowledge that I’d like to share with the world.

-What is your best curating secret?

My curiosity and appreciation is revealed through content I curate. Learning from and sharing with others is the best part of anything worthwhile in the world. The secret is to remember what it feels like to inspire and be inspired.

-How has curation enriched your social media experience?

Curating is a love-of-information sport that at times has been bittersweet. It has drawn me away from my love for reading newspapers andmagazines, yet it has introduced me to interesting people who are on the pulse of topics I find important like video production, photography, journalism and the tech industry.

Reading or consuming then actively curating content takes time, but now this can be done seamlessly if not simultaneously. Consume and curate is the new read, rip and share that I still do when I read newspapers or magazines.  The difference is speed and scale: read more quickly and share with more people. Digital curation is allowing me to read and understand more than ever. I’m also collecting, organizing and adding my own relevance and insights then sharing with anyone who shares my interests. On the flipside, I can try to sharpen or balance my point of view by looking for curated content that is critical to my tastes.

-Movin’Ahead demonstrates your great knowledge and interest for the Italian culture. How did this topic become your passion?

Italy is a special place in my life because of the true love in my life, my wife and children. My wife was born and raised in Italy, while I’m a Northern California kid. Together we face the challenges and benefits of a bi-cultural family.

My blog was born out of a deep seeded desire for working things out and moving ahead to the finer things in life. Getting stuck or bogged down by confrontation, opposing views or filibusters often can crack open opportunities for thoughtful criticism and reflection, but inevitably things move ahead. Keeping in mind the finer things in life — past, present and future – helps me move ahead in the right direction.

With some regret, I have done less thoughtful writing and more whimsical photo and video sharing on my blog. But one constant theme in my blog through the years has been my fascination with Italy’s amazing culture and awesome eye candy. Each year, we visit family in Italy, typically spending summers in Calabria, where tragedy, comedy and history are part of daily life. One of my dreams is to visit many of the small towns across Calabria, capturing photos, dialect and folklore that make each place unique then write tight, visually telling stories that inspire more people to come see for themselves. Someday!

May Your Cup Runnith Over into the Tyrrhenian Sea

Pizzo-TropeaMay2008 312, originally uploaded by KenEKaplan.

I shot this in late May 2008 from the balcony of our friends house, located just down from the Piazza overlooking the sea.

Eye Candy Window in a Pizzo, Italy

Pizzo-TropeaMay2008 330, originally uploaded by KenEKaplan.

Here’s one I shot on my walk back from a fun kindergarten recital in Pizzo, Calabria, southern Italy. On this day in late May 2008, Summer was about to make its stay.

This is the pastry shop reflecting the nearby and storied Murat Castle, which adjacent to the Piazza, overlooking the marina and Tyrrhenian Sea far below.

You can’t eat the castle, but you can certainly devour the life size prickly pears, mandarins, strawberries and other sugar-made fruits.  Like the tasties my lovely, talent wife recently made.

Clear Blue Capo Vaticano, Calabria

di sole e d’azzurro, originally uploaded by tribalbob.

This is not a far drive from where our family stays in Pizzo, Calabria. The yellow cactus fruit, clear blue water and dreamy yachts…I gotta get there and bring my camera!

VIDEO: Race Down Spiral Streets of Tiriolo, Calabria

In March, on another cultural quest to visit towns throughout Calabria, we went to the top of Tiriolo, which overlooks two seas — the Tyrrhenian to the west and Ionian to the south and east.  Our first stop was at Restaurante Due Mari for a hearty lunch with views of both seas.  Then we used our new, TheFlip video cam (super small, easy to use and makes nice quality) created a video as we raced down the spiral streets down to the piazza, where we had a coffee before visiting the church.  It is a quiet town with beautiful sweeping views and amazing colors.

Here’s a collection of photos.



March Sunset from La Terrazza in Pizzo, Calabria 1

Marzo e pazzo. March is crazy in Italy — spectacular days followed by bluster winds. Misty mornings that stay hazy all day with sun sliding through slivers of cracked gray cloud cover. A sunrise that paints everything yellow from the sea to the cliff hanging old city of Pizzo. It’s about unbridled change and the mystery the moves the cosmos.

In March we leap ahead one hour — now that’s progressive. And March is the birth month some of the craziest, other worldly, creative, spirited, intelligent people I know: my wife, dad, father-in-law…

Then March closes with an uplifting sent of spring, mustard and fruit tree blossoms…and my own birthday.

See more photos of the sun dropping into the Tyrrhenian Sea, while the island of Stromboli slumbers, smoking above the watertop horizon.

Tyrrhenian Sea

Make an Icon Burn with Delight

This is quickly becoming a common figurine in Calabria, Italy, popping up in smal craft shops and supermarket chains. This was shot in the lodge at the beautiful, sacred woods of Santa Maria in Serra San Bruno, Italy.

Serra San Bruno, originally uploaded by KenEKaplan.


Calabria — Rich Mosaic of Italian Culture & Beauty

The southern Italian region of Calabria is framed by 800 km of coast line, touching two seas — the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas. In between, a dramatic, lush landscape is dotted with cities celebrating rich historic heritages worth preserving and exploring. So, that’s what we’re doing during my sabbatical…weather and family needs permitting.

When Latin was the mother tongue — it can still be detected in some Calabrese dialects — the region was called Brutium. From my dozen or so years of visiting Italy, there is no comparison to Calabria. It has an abundance of rich culture introduced by ancient Greece, Roman and Baroque periods. The dynamic, helpful and sometimes mysterious people are keeping alive or reclaiming family traditions of art, food, music that makes each seaside, cliff hanging, valley wide and mountain nestled city special and different from one another.

Upon first glance, each town has a familiar look and feel. The more you see, hear and eat you see that each city boasts distinct characteristics: architectural design and colors of homes; town squares or piazzas where locals meet; specialty foods like sweets, fish, cheese or cured meats; and treasured remains…some dating back centuries, even back to Greek
and Roman eras.

Here are a few:

Pizzo Calabro has tuna and Tartuffo, the gelato made with black cherry smothered in chocolate syrup wrapped in dark chocolate and hazelnut ice cream blackened with cocoa powder. Learn how the Pizzitani created Tartufo, “the king of gelati” about Bar Gelateria Ercole, the best place in Pizzo to get one.

Serra San Bruno’s mushrooms — and almost everything else you can put in your mouth
Close by the famous monastery called the Certosa of Saint Bruno of Cologne. This is where my mother-in-law is from, and where we escape Pizzo to spend time visiting family and taking in medicinal air and water.

Bagnara Calabro and Taurianova make great torrone.

Reggio Calabria makes amazing sweets of all kinds.

Ciro — my maternal great grandmother is from Ciro Marina — makes great wines. My favorites are simple, strong vino biano o rosso.

Seminara is known for its hand crafted ceramics and olive oil — in a separate post, I’ll share more about our trip to Seminara.

Locri has a seaside Roman villa rich with floor mosaics.  It dates from the first century BC to late antiquity (around 400AD).

I’ll keep adding photos from Calabria here.

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Rust Never Sleeps

Iron Door Agains Stone Wall, originally uploaded by KenEKaplan.

Rusty ironworks found in a late 17th century palace in Serra San Bruno, Italy, October 2007. Here’s a set of photos I shot in Calabria this October.