Welcome To The Curation Age

by Patrick on April 3, 2012

I wish I could say I read your blog but chances are I don’t- at least not regularly. The photo above is a screenshot of an RSS reader that contains the blogs of all of the people I follow on Twitter and Facebook. As you can see there’s a lot of information out there. Too much for me to comprehend or manage. This is just one example of how inundated we are in today’s age.

It’s not just social media, it’s not just technology. It’s everywhere.

We are bombarded by ads on the TV, over the radio, all over the surfaces we walk, touch, and see every day. When I think of the idea of Information Overload I think of this clip from Minority Report:

Is this the future? No this is how we feel already when we walk down the hallway we call life. We are constantly being stimulated everywhere we go and sometimes we need a break- a retreat from it all.

The idea of social curation stems from the weariness we feel when we seek out information and end up with a mountain of raw data. We want a way to manage, control, and filter what eventually reaches us so it doesn’t consume us whole.

Brian Andreas understands these forces and has taken the idea a step further. Over at Fast Company he makes the claim that social media has become less social as we start to curate content just for our individual needs. I think he’s absolutely right. Sites like Pinterest and apps like Flipboard have made it easier for us to collect and organize content that we want. Sure we share it but are we really helping others by sharing what we like?

Andreas says, “Today’s social platforms are innately self-centered because that is how they have been conditioned to be over time and more often than not people are just blindly pushing out content, not actually sharing what we like, bought, saw, need, want with others.” 

However there is room for collaboration and there are places where it is happening. When I did VEDA last summer, I discovered entire channels that are collaborative. The content is created by a group of vloggers who share the channel and the duty of vlogging for it. Other tools like Google Docs has made it easier for others to work together and share information.

Not everything about social media is centered on the self but what has changed is the way we consume information. It has now become easier to just read what you want to read and watch what you want to watch.

The question is how do we get ourselves to read the news we need to know and not just the news we want to know?

  • http://twitter.com/parisianfeline T.S. Christian

    This is pretty timely because I haven’t read any blogs in my goggle Reader in like 2-3 days and I’ve got about 200 blogs to push through. So I’m making the time to sift through them because I do enjoy reading blogs, commenting and posting their information for others on Twitter.

    “The question is how do we get ourselves to read the news we need to know and not just the news we want to know?”

    I liked this question. But how do you define “news”? like international news? Or American/local news? Or just information about trends about various fields? I think the lack of interest in international news in the US is part a larger cultural problem. I’m certainly not well-versed in international issues, but I do follow pockets of people who know a lot about what’s going on in various countries in Africa, I know a bit about Korea and Japan for example. But I’m no expert. I also like to be kept abreast of environmental or issues of sustainability – so I follow people who talk about things like that. There’s so much information, and honestly, if you don’t narrow your focus, you’ll go insane. So I don’t think there’s a clear distinction between necessary news and superfluous news because it’s about what you personally value. Like, I think issues of race in america are important but there may be other people who are less concerned with racism and more concerned with fashion trends. So then it becomes, “How do I convince the fashion forward that race is an important issue and that they should pay attention?”

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