I think Fred Wilson's post on the topic spells it out nicely. I'm going to post a giant piece of that post, but if you find it as interesting as I did you'll want to visit his site to read the comments also. Fred wrote:
For years, I've been using curators to filter my web experience. I can't and won't subscribe to the hundreds (maybe thousands) of blogs I want to stay on top of. I realize that everything I write here, or on fredwilson.vc, unionsquareventures, or at newcritics, won't be read by every reader/subscriber. I know that all of you are doing the same thing as I am. We are relying on the world of social media curators to surface up the things that are interesting and we read that.
Techmeme has been the killer social media curator for my world of tech blogs. Lore has it that it was created using Scoble's OPML file. It doesn't matter to me if that's true or not, I love that story. Because my OPML file was unusable until I found Techeme and after that I stopped reading feeds and started reading curated feeds.
But curated systems will be gamed. Everything on the Interent will be gamed. And user generated content won't stay "user" generated forever. The pros will crash any party that's worth crashing and make it their own.
I don't think this is a bad thing, it's just worth noting.
Just when you are starting to get the hang of another new technology and starting to see the writing on the wall you are hit with a moment like this. I'd never heard the term "curated feed" before now. I was just noticing how worthless the local newspaper feed is because all stories receive equal billing, unlike the printed paper which contains headlines of varying sizes. I'd thought useful it'd be for someone to moderate stories and provide only stories I might find interesting. Glory be, I just read that Fred's been using "curated feeds" for years. I feel so inadequate.
Isn't our social network our curator? I subscribe to 375 feeds right now. I don't read them everyday. Although I do read them all a lot of days. When I'm pushed, I know there are 10-15 blogs that I can read and not miss important things? These would be my curators.
Techmeme is most definitely a curated feed. Things only get there once someone on their fabric posts about an article. Most of the time, those articles are originating in the main stream media: NY Times, CNET, Reuters, etc. Once one of their "fabric" bloggers comments on an article from one of their main sites -- bam it's on Techmeme.
It really is quite interesting. Another example of how the "community" is deciding what gets our attention.
I agree that our social network is a curator. I do the same, reading a certain few blogs as often as possible, but I also know that my social network is far too prolific for me to ever consider keeping up.
Thanks for the feedback. This is one of those topics that could easily devolve into an evening of beverages and "what ifs."
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