'Curation' is out of control, says curator


Rex Hammock finds an example of aggregation gone berserk: a Time blog post about time management.

Apparently, the “writer” of the story did nothing more than rewrite a blog post that was a list of ideas the blogger re-wrote (and turned into a slideshow) from ideas he picked up from a book. No doubt, the ideas found in the book, were “curated” by the author.

(Let's just sidestep the fact that I'm aggregating Hammock's post until Poynter approves my request to hire a postmodern theorist to lend me a hand when things get especially meta.)

Hammock is a masterful curator, regularly injecting original content into fabulous finds he shares on different platforms, but he's not happy with that term (few people are), and he thinks the wheels have fallen off the concept of useful aggregation:

Over the past three or so years, the term media curation has evolved in its meaning to being less-and-less an act of help and service and more and more a term that’s used to add lipstick to a pig of a business model that is based on something like the following: “go re-write stuff you find elsewhere that’s about whatever is trending on Google and bury a link to them somewhere towards the end of the story so we can claim it’s not merely re-writing their story.”

If you're not adding value, Hammock writes, you should just link instead. This aggregator is determined to hold up his end of the bargain:

  • "4 Reasons Why Content Curation Has Gone Mainstream" (Forbes)
  • "Three Reasons Content Curation is Overrated" (B2C)
  • USA TODAY Sports Media Group Acquires News Curation Service Quickish (press release, via MarketWatch)

Related: What’s the business model of curation?Popova on Curator’s Code reaction: ‘When did we, as a community, make this kind of behavior acceptable?’Can we agree about aggregation standards?

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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