Curation and Content Overload

There's a lot of content on the Internet. This as pretty much always been the case, but it's especially true these days. There's so much content that it's difficult to comprehend the amount of content on this (very small) website, let alone the content of "all the blogs" or other kinds of sites.

In the early days of blogging, the largest archives included a hundred or even two hundred posts, no more than a year or two of archives, and if you read the dozen or two dozen blogs in the general network that you covered, you could be pretty sure that you were reading some significant portion of the "weblog discourse" and all the same blogs that the people writing the blogs were reading. When you found a new blog, the chance is that you could read the entire archive in an hour or two if you were so inclined.

It's a different world now. Blogs have many years of archives, hundreds upon hundreds of posts, what we read is only a drop in the bucket of whats out there.

Success, (a relative concept indeed) as content creators on the Internet, in this saturated market requires a very different strategy. Pumping out more content, just further saturates our websites, we need some other approach. It doesn't help that the publication systems we use to power content on the web (wordpress, drupal, blogger) are designed for an earlier era.

I would propose that success in the next era will revolve around, individuals and technological solutions that make "curation" easier and more effective. Curation you ask? In museums we see the display of only a fraction of the material held in the collection. Likely 10% or less. What you do see is selected (regularly) by curators who know and manage the collection, and take those materials and display them in such a way as to convey some sort of broader message about the subject of an exhibit.

The same thing can (and should) happen on the web, with content. We need content producers to go through their writing and say "read this first for an introduction to my work/ideas," we need to connect content producers with curators who synthesize posts (with links) to great content that's "out there" (like tumble logs), we to integrate tools and structures that make curation easier in existing content-management software.

The truth is that many of these things are starting to happen: I've seen some bloggers who attempt to filter their posts for their readers (and I'm going to be doing more of this,) tumble logs, when well done are curatorial. The software is here in bits and pieces, but the truth is that curation has to be a mostly manual task (which is the source of its value), so I think it'll be a while before we work out the kinks so that the software facilitates this kind of work. In the mean time...

Work as if you Live in the Early Days of a Better Nation.

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