Curation And Noise
Being a “curator” is all the rage. But it’s become a practice – and a term – that’s completely diluted and distorted through an online lens.
To me – and by definition – curation requires conscious thought with the purpose of adding value, context, or perspective to a collection of things. It’sdeliberate work, gathering things together for a reason and lending a keen editing eye to those assets, whether it be pieces of art or pieces of writing. There’s also an element of curation that involves preserving things, which is a more challenging proposition when you’re talking about the fleeting nature of the digital world.
Turning your Twitter feed into a clockwork-scheduled stream of all the stuff you find in your RSS feed is not curation, it’s distribution. And since collecting and redistributing content is arguably easier than creating it, everyone does it. Which serves to create a great deal of noise, and as we’ve lamented for some time now, it becomes increasingly difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff and home in on information resources that are consistently valuable, and favor mindful selection and sharing over optimizing a feed to populate a bunch of links and drive traffic or gain fans and followers.
Can curation be accomplished online? I think so. But it’s rarely what we actually see happening when we immerse ourselves in social networks, and it’s not what we’re doing when we click the “share” button over and over again.