5 Questions With… Steve Rosenbaum, Founder and CEO of Magnify.net

This post is part of a weekly series called “5 Questions With…” featuring Q&As with Social Media Week Global Advisory Board members.

Steve Rosenbaum is CEO and Founder of Magnify.net, a video publishing platform that makes it easy to integrate user-generated video, video that you produce, or video that you discover into your website. Read his full bio here.

Q: Your book Curation Nation has been widely acclaimed. What does “curation” mean to you and what role do you see it playing in the social media space?
Steve Rosenbaum: Well, first of all I think the early buzz around the book tells us that folks are hungry for a new way to help them slow down the fire hose of data that is coming at all of us. Truly, what this has triggered is a magnificent renaissance of content.  But it’s also overwhelming. We’re literally drowning in data. It results in that panicky feeling that no matter how hard you try -you’re going to miss something important.  So folks who’ve read the early galleys of the book are saying things like, “This book gives me hope for the future of the Information Age.” That’s Dan Pink – who wrote A Whole New Mind. He’s an amazing author and thinker. So when he wrote that I was like ‘wow, ok maybe this book really needed to be written now.’

Curation simply means that in between the massive web of data and your brain there will be humans. They will find, organize, categorize and validate content for you.  And – increasingly – you’ll be a curator for your peers and friends and fans as well. In fact, if you’ve ever re-tweeted something, or posted on Yelp, or written a review on Amazon – then you’re already curating. You just don’t think of it that way – yet.

Curation will be the special magic that makes social media work. In fact, the idea of ‘social’ is a curated idea. Your social circle is inherently a set of choices. It’s the people you choose to let into your digital life. And their editorial advice is going to help shape what you read, watch, eat, and wear. Think of Social Curation like FlipBook on steroids.

Q: When and why did you first get involved with Social Media Week?
SR: I’ve been involved since year one. I like the self-organizing nature of an event like this. There’s so much talent in New York, and unlike other cities, New York doesn’t really have an easy way for a community to gather. There’s no Buck’s Pancake House here (a famous valley eatery for the tech community). So Social Media Week provides a backbone. And – it’s February – so I’m looking for any excuse to be indoors with friends, and hopefully find a party or two to crash.

Q: What is a major trend you see rising in the social media space?
SR: Well, first of all – let’s be honest, the words ‘Social’ and ‘Media” haven’t really found each other yet. Social is housed in a variety of apps and websites. Media is emerging in Twitter, YouTube, and other tools. But just now, we’re seeing shared social stories – groups of people gathering on Facebook, or connecting in curated ways with experiences like TweetChat.  The big trend is going to be more and more people making, and engaging in media that is social. Shared viewing, co-creating, re-mixing and exploring participatory media. This is an exciting, important, and unfinished evolution.

Q: How do you use social media for both personal and professional use?
SR: Yikes. Well, where do I start?  I publish – often – and using a wide variety of tools.  Personally I use Facebook, Twitter, HootSuite, Foursquare, and Flickr – most of them every day. I’m playing with Quora and Reddit a bit.  Professionally, I publish my video on Magnify.net – where I curate more than 15 channels of content. I blog for Huffington Post, Fast Company, Silicon Alley Insider, and MediaBiz Bloggers. I see my blogging as a spark-plug for conversations – often the most social things I’m involved with are provoked in the comments. On Twitter I’m pretty serious about curating an interesting conversation for my followers and responding directly and quickly to @messages or DM’s. I manage four Twitter accounts, so I’m always reading and re-tweeting – but different material for different streams. For me, curating conversations is something I love to do, and so I’m always enjoying being part of a community of ideas.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most during Social Media Week 2011?
SR: Well, publishing is a very new world for me. I’ve learned a lot working with the folks at McGraw-Hill, and I’m excited to connect with more folks from the book world. I think publishers have an opportunity to be the curators of new ‘live’ book content. So that’s a conversation I’m excited to have. And of course, video and film are my passions as well. So I’m excited to share some wild ideas about how video gets to emerge from the shadows of what we politely call ‘entertainment’ and join the thinking world.

I think this is the year that ‘Social’ and ‘Media’ fall in love.

Alysha Lalji is a contributing writer to the Social Media Week blog and works in digital communications at Deep Focus.