Is Curation The Future of The Social Web?

Curation event
Last Monday Scoop.it was invited by pariSoma to partake in a panel discussing: “is curation the future of the Social Web?” With Burt Herman from Storify and Chris McCann from StartupDigest, Guillaume Decugis our CEO, discussed the new social behavior that curation represents online. The debate was moderated by Ben Parr, Mashable’s editor-at-large.
The first question from Ben Parr was legitimate. ”What’s the hell is curation?”
Of course, we feel that curation has become quite a hot topic in recent months, especially with amount of information on almost any particular topic seems to keep growing exponentially. The debate around the need of filters, and how to be sure to find the “right” information theorized by authors such as Clay Shirky or Eli Pariser collide with the need to know what you share with who to make the web social again according to social media specialist such as Brian Solis.
But the term represents a new activity online that needs to be defined. According to the panel, the activity is absolutely not new. “Picking great stuff” as said Chris McCann is not specific to the web, but its democratization is the innovation. We are now able to be a resource on many topics and stories.
Because behind the concept of curation, you have humans. The curator cannot be automated, that what makes the difference between his or her work and aggregation. As Burt Herman said “humans are telling a story, which is the opposite of aggregation”, while Guillaume Decugis used the metaphor of the bad DJ versus the good one: “At a party, it is not the collection of content that matters, it is how you put music together”

Humanization and democratization are coming together. The web created the feeling we could all be creators, bringing us to this age of digital abundance, where you have “so much data out there, it makes sense to try to make sense of it” as explained Burt Herman. That is the biggest challenge curation has to face according to the panel: the overload of content. According to Guillaume Decugis, social media is now very person oriented, and even described it as “egocentric”. Reorienting our social and experience around curation and what you are sharing, your “interest graph”, in opposition to your “social graph” could help to make sense of the web again, to access not only content, but what is relevant to you. Ben Parr asked if Google+ was a new social media platform that was bringing a innovative way to share clusters of interests. The panelists seemed skeptical. It seemed to them to be a lot of work in order to find a more meaningful and contextual way to share than adding a new social platform to LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. We are already exposed to so many demands online.

The democratization of creation is one aspect of the internet. But if we can be all creators, can we all be curators? Who should be the ones in charge of it? Journalists and educators were both examples of natural curators according to Burt Herman and Guillaume Decugis. But what about the enlightened amateur. Is it enough to build your legitimacy? “Passion makes you an expert” according to Guillaume.
We are all an expert on something, the things that we know, love, and drive us.

The future of curation should be also about defining who you are through what you are passionated about. Curation is definitely related to passion for us. You will always be more ready to pay attention to someone talking with his or heart about his favorite topic or more enthusiasm to embrace the words of a great storyteller or trusting someone who knows what he or she is talking about because that’s what drives them.

While curation could be the future of the social web, it looks definitely like the future of Media. A future where,as Chris McCann said, “media would be profitable again.”