I’m working on a project to encourage members of an organization to interact and engage with technology, digital tools and social networks. While most of the members understand and can appreciate the need to use collaborative and new media tools, there are those who question the need to engage with, and have access to, so much information. The sheer amount of information and choices is sometimes boggling. How do we select the information that is relevant to us?
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One of the greatest challenges with endless choice is cutting through the noise. Information overload can stop us from finding that piece of information that will change our life; entertain, delight and inform our decisions. Nevertheless, I would argue that being exposed to so much information and seeing things that you might not normally see, expands our worldview and can greatly enrich our lives in ways that we never dreamed possible a couple decades ago. For example, how did I know that a Tweet I saw about the Peter Drucker Global Challenge would lead me to Vienna for two years of enriching debate on the future of management? How can I measure the joy I get from hearing how an article I published on LinkedIn has changed the way an employee is engages with their company?
The role of the curator is becoming increasingly important because it provides us with a door to accessing more content – information, photos, art, music, whatever – that we could love. The possibility of discovering something new has always fascinated the human race and while we may not “discover new worlds” geographically speaking we are discovering worlds that ignite our imagination and encourage us to greater depths and breadths of knowledge.
When we talk about curation, we might think of the museum curator who brings together the right pieces to convey new insights into a subject or theme; an art movement or time period. Curators select, from an entire body of work (information overload), the right pieces to deepen the audience’s understanding of both the part and the whole of a subject or theme.
While we normally think of the curator as a person – the talented human being who works to bring us new depths and breadths of knowledge – curation can also be non-human. It can be an algorithm or a search engine like Google. It can also be our friendly grocer who shows us the freshest fruits or our personal shopper at our favorite store who sets aside outfits that they think we will enjoy wearing.
With 10 million songs in your pocket or 50 fan pages on Facebook or 500 professional connections on LinkedIn, we need curation. Sometimes we seek it in the form of blogs or personalized news channels. Sometimes we find that our friends are our best curators of content. Whatever the source, curation of content gives us more of what we love. It’s the key to making sense of our noisy world and deepening our appreciation for the information that surrounds us.