On curation fatigue
July 5th, 2012 • Uncategorized
I have curation fatigue.
On a daily and weekly basis, I’ve started to get dozens of “curated” emails delivered to my inbox. Some that I didn’t even sign up for. Each one is supposed to have carefully culled the internet and found the best things for its readers to help you cut through all the noise on the internet and get straight to the good stuff. Twitter daily digests, Percolate emails, Brain Pickings, Media ReDefined, Smart Briefs, and lots more. Wasn’t curation supposed to cut down on the noise? At this rate, I have so many “curated” emails to filter through that I just feel like deleting all of them rather than trying to sort them all out.
It’s true that content curation makes it easy to find some of the best, most popular content of the web, but it also allows us to become lazy. We no longer discover anything truly new on the web – why search for anything interesting to read, when you can rely on others to tell you what to read? There’s no longer any need to search or browse. How many people do you know who no longer open up a magazine – or even visit a magazine homepage online—and go straight to Facebook or Twitter to see what’s trending amongst their peers and just read that?
By relying too much on content curated for us by others, I think we miss out on one of the most important parts of the internet: discovery of new content and new ideas. We stop browsing and finding new, random things, outside of our predefined interests. We lost out on the process of randomly stumbling upon something you might not have known you were interested in before.
Ultimately, reading new things outside your usual niche is one of the best ways to expand your mind and broaden your horizons. By relying so much on content curated for us based on our pre-determined interests, needs, and social circles, we’re missing out on the wonderful experience of browsing, of stumbling on a random article about psychology of the brain in love or how the North Pole is melting and disappearing.
Curation is important, and still very helpful in finding interesting, worthwhile things to read – but relying too much on curated content makes us lazy and allows us to miss out on arguably the best part of being online. There’s still something to be said for the experience of browsing, of getting out of our niche and our social networks and learning something totally new and different; rather than reading, oh, the same BuzzFeed listicle that 250 people have already tweeted and posted about.