What’s this? Even in an age of democratized media, where the barbarians have not only stormed the gates but made a nice bouillabaisse out of the media guardians formerly known as The Gatekeepers, there’s a need for curators?
Well, yes. In fact, curators are needed now more than ever, Steve Rosenbaum argues in his fun, insightful, passionate and satisfying new book Curation Nation.
Curators, you might say, are the distant cousins of gatekeepers. Where gatekeepers once decided what news to dispense to a pliable, passive audience of mass media consumers — and, just as important, what news not to dispense — curators serve a different purpose. In this age of information overload, we need curators to find, organize, contextualize and repackage data to make it accessible to us. We’re moving from an age of making stuff to one where we organize, filter and reconceptualize information.
Rosenbaum recounts a dinner conversation Esther Dyson had with Bill Gates, quoting Dyson:
Bill Gates uttered one of the smartest things he has ever said: “The future of search is verbs.” To me, the meaning was clear: when people search, they aren’t just looking for nouns or information; they are looking for action. They want to book a flight, reserve a table, buy a product, cure a hangover, take a class, fix a leak, resolve an argument, or occasionally find a person, for which Facebook is very handy. They mostly want to find something in order to do something. A lot of the social web is or will be directed towards helping people select stuff for other people, because the automated things get the topic, but not the meaning.
Enter the curators. “Curation, whether accidental or intentional, is rapidly becoming the future of media, commerce, and community,” the author writes.
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