Sometimes it’s the quirky projects that can best help us explain serious business concepts and processes.

Me Wanty! website for wacky gifts onlineI watched a very entertaining interview yesterday on the Sunrise breakfast TV show with David Mancherje, founder of a quirky new online site, Me Wanty!

Spending as much time as I do in earnest examination of and discussion about such topics as the ROI of social media and the measurement of online influence, the interview was for me enlightening and even inspirational.

Sunrise7 interview with David Mancherje of Me Wanty! siteI felt that I could be watching the beginning of a significant, maybe highly successful online business, within a strong social framework, and without any evidence of traditional business planning,  with its SWOT analyses, market research and such.

Clearly, young Mr Mancherje and friends were having fun and he even seemed a bit surprised about the attention, including that he was being interviewed from Los Angeles on Australian breakfast television.

And in the course of explaining his project, he provided an illustration of how curation can work, from personal interest and possibly for business benefit.

I’ve been trying to explain curation in the social media context

Lately I’ve been trying, with at best limited success, to explain to people how useful the process of curation can be for a company or individual entrepreneur wanting to build their social presence.

My sense is that while the word curation gets thrown around a lot in discussion of social media, it is a piece of jargon as far as most people outside the social media in-group conversation bubble are concerned and maybe not carrying the same meaning or significance even for those folks inside the bubble.

For anyone keen to have a definition of curation in the new/social media context, my shorthand and, as I am fully aware, quite inadequate definition is “organized, interpreted aggregation”. As summarized in an article on Wikipedia under the heading Media Curation, there is a bit of brouhaha going on about aggregation and curation, .

And even though, as that article points out, some influential people don’t like the concept – or at least its application – I don’t see the practice going away as long as people like to collect things and share information. As with so many things, the social web just gives people a bigger pool to play in.

Me Wanty! wacky items for sale

I’ve been doing my best explain curation to people who aren’t in the social media jargon loop by using the example of a curator for an art exhibition, who may not be herself an artist but has the domain knowledge, judgement of quality, and interpretative and communication skills to be able to combine, explain, distinguish and generally present a coherent story which does good service to the artists and their work and to the audience.

But people’s responses (or lack of responses!) has shown me that even that explanation is a bit cerebral or abstruse, especially for anyone who is uninformed and/or uninterested about what happens in galleries and museums.

So thanks to the interview with David Mancherje I have a new way of explaining curation, and how it might work, by illustration and with the benefit of a good chunk of quirk to get attention.

The relevant bit of the interview went like this.

One of the people interviewing Mancherje was David Koch, who as a successful businessman, finance guy and sometime publisher of a magazine for small business, has much more going for him in the business smarts than you might reasonably expect of a breakfast show host. So it was not surprising that Kochie (as he is known popularly) asked Mancherje about how he was making money, specifically through commissions or advertising.

Mancherje said they made some commission and there was not much advertising. Their goal was just to “get it out to as many people as possible and just have fun with it”. He said there is “so much weird stuff out there” on the web and he “wanted to curate the weirdest, coolest stuff out there” and “it’s just exciting to get Facebook fans and build out the fan base”.

Thank you David Mancherje – for your entertaining site and for the example of curation in action.

By the way, I hasten to add that what we curate does not have to be weird or quirky. Just interesting enough to engage and maintain the attention of the people we want to connect with. But it could be quirky too.

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).