SXSW Word of the Day: Curation

Interesting first day at South by Southwest conference.

It started with a panel “User Generated Content: State of the Union” where I asked whether the term UGC was still useful, as we have better more specific terms. I relayed the fact that Wikipedians (specifically, Brianna Laugher of Wikimedia Commons) have come up with the term “community curated content,” as a more meaningful phrase to describe what Wikipedians do. Chris Tolles, Topix CEO, who was moderating, asked whether people knew what that meant. Not many raised their hands. But later on in the Q&A, someone described their company as doing “curated video” and Steve Rosenbaum, on old friend from NYC I ran into, described a trend towards using the term “curation.”

The next session, an excellent talk by author Stephen Johnson, talked about the future of news. On his diagram of the news ecosystem, he described News and Commentary functions, being mediated by a Curation layer, and feeding the Distribution of news. Johnson says this curation is done by various sources: social media groups, professional editors, aggregators, group filters.

I see it as more than a coincidence that the term “curation” is a word being used now.

This is a smart crowd at SXSW. I’m glad to see more accurate, nuanced and thoughtful terminology being used to describe the functions within the Web 2.0 community.

UPDATE: I forgot that on day two of the conference, the curation theme continues, with a session titled: Curating the Crowd-Sourced World: “With all the stuff we weed through online, good filters are crucial. Who’s best-suited to determine what’s best, curators or the crowd? People have their religion about one or the other, however this panel will focus on the overlap, the grey areas and how curating and crowd-sourcing enrich each other.”

UPDATE 2: The Guardian’s Jemima Kiss blogged about this too, but just a slight error in referring to it as “crowd-curated works”

4 thoughts on “SXSW Word of the Day: Curation

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