Matthew Ingram of GigaOm jumped in to ask this very important question:
Huffpo’s one-paragraph pull of a much longer Verge piece full of graphics, visuals and well-considered content doesn’t take away from a transformative original piece. The question is, do people click the link on HuffPo and realize that there’s a much better transformative piece out there?
“So like there’s nothing for you to curate without creation? This precious bit of dressing-up what people choose to share on the Internet is, sure, silly, but it’s also a way for bloggers to distance themselves from the dirty blogging masses. You are no different from some teen in Indiana with a LiveJournal about cutting. Sorry folks! You’re in this nasty fray with the rest of us. And your metaphor is all wrong. More likely you’re a low-grade collector, not a curator.”
Gonna curate some links in the meantime.
Saw this yesterday, found it to be a bit of a talker, wanted to write up a response. First up: Choire has been at this long enough (he worked at Gawker nearly a decade ago) that he’s arguably an elder statesman of blogging, along with folks like Andrew Sullivan, Josh Marshall and a couple of others. That automatically makes his opinion valid enough that we should listen, but I’m sure in a lot of ways it gives him a different take on this whole thing than someone who got into this in, say, 2008 or 2009.
So let’s take on this term. “Curation.” The first time I ever heard someone use the term in relation to Web content was in 2009, when Robert Scoble wrote this great piece about how “curation” was going to be a billion-dollar industry, once someone figured out a killer product that made it really stupidly simple to organize our thoughts into one piece. Not long after that, we got Storify, and, separately, Tumblr sort of became the place for this style of link sharing. I don’t see a billion dollars yet, but the basic idea seems to be catching on. (And no, it’s nothing like curating art. Big deal.)
But here’s the thing: I don’t think anyone is actually trying to “class up” their work by using this term. (Well, maybe except for the dude quoted in Choire’s piece.) These “curators” are just using different techniques than people were using a decade ago, and someone threw out that term one day, and it stuck.
And it’s happened before, too. Do you know how long pre-digital journalists bristled at the term “blogger” around 2004? I’m sure there’s some middle-aged newspaper columnist somewhere who once wrote a column titled “You Are Not a Blogger, You Are Actually Just a Terrible Journalist.” Do we need to rehash the purist’s argument every time someone does something a little differently? I’m sure the telegraph guys were pissed when they were shown the telephone for the first time.
So let’s get down to it: You’re not a curator, but then you’re not a blogger, either. You’re just a person with an internet connection who uses it to communicate. The quality of the information you share, report, or comment on is what matters. Not the term. — Ernie @ SFB
I’ve been running a hybrid articles-and-links blog here (↬DF) for a while, I wrote the function that added “via” links to billions of reblogged posts on Tumblr, and I didn’t even know the difference between “via” and “hat tip” until today.Instapaper founder (and Tumblr co-founder) Marco Arment • Offering his take, in a post titled “Not a Curator,” on the “Curator’s Code” idea that’s been floating around for the past day or two. His feeling? We’re fighting over something that’s not a big deal, and the solution is going to be ignored by the organizations that it’s meant to target. “The proper place for ethics and codes is in ensuring that a reasonable number of people go to the source instead of just reading your rehash,” he argues. Personally, that’s always been our goal — but that said, unlike Marco, we’d call ourselves curators.
…where is the line between promoting the good work of others and simply lifting it? Naughty aggregation is analogous to pornography: You know it when you see it.David Carr (via soupsoup)
imwithkanye asks: What is the one piece of news you wish you would had written or reported? Whose work do you admire the most?
» SFB says: Regarding the first half of that, I feel like, honestly, I try to catch as much as I can, but sometimes the beast that is limited resources can really get in the way. I wish the site could’ve done more with Occupy Wall Street some nights. I wish I could give equal weight to the natural disasters that come along (we covered Thailand’s recent flooding a little too lightly, for example). But with just a handful of writers, you have to be careful to ensure that your appetite is as big as your stomach. So often we’ll cover one story really well if it’s big enough, or touch on four or five at a time.
As for the second part: I’ve always told people that my two biggest inspirations in doing this blog are Andrew Sullivan and Charles Apple. You guys all know Sullivan. Some of you hate his work or obsessions with Trig Palin or whatever. I tend to think that he set many of the basic templates for mixing news and opinion in a blog; he’s a trailblazer, plain and simple. As for Charles Apple, he runs a newspaper-design blog that is more of a direct influence on what I do. When I started the site, I asked him for feedback; I still cite his site pretty regularly. I came from news design, and while SFB’s focus is broader than that, the numbers and blurbs come from those roots. Beyond that, I find ProducerMatthew’s work to be super-inspiring. — Ernie @ SFB (Alright, Office Hours over for now; we have one or two still sitting around and we’ll get to those over the next few days.)