56Curate Ethically

Content curation is an ugly phrase, isn't it? It suggests the working parts of machinery and implies a kind of automation that takes a blob of colorless fodder, feeds it to a conveyor belt, and plops into a website for mass consumption.

But the truth is that the best kind of content curation has a decidedly human element to it. It might be found, collected, and organized via technology, but its real value materializes when actual people add something new to it: when it's shared with enthusiasm, or it becomes a basis for an expanded opinion or a different take.

If you are merely regurgitating content from elsewhere without adding your take, that's not curation—that's aggregation. A robot can aggregate content, but only a human can tell me why it matters. Your curated content might not be original to you, but you should deliver an original experience that adds unique value.

I agree with how Maria Popova writing on BrainPickings.org, views curation:

I firmly believe that the ethos at its core—a drive to find the interesting, meaningful, and relevant amidst the vast maze of overabundant information, creating a framework for what matters in the world and why—is an increasingly valuable form of creative and intellectual labor, a form of authorship that warrants thought.1

I love that part about “a form of authorship,” because it reframes curation not as an add-on or a rip-off or an easy way to fill a Web page or a blog post quota. Instead, it respects curation ...

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