Martin Weigert of Meshed Society recently made a good point about curation as the future of blogging. He writes that many bloggers have stopped making new stuff, instead “selecting and repackaging existing content.” Weigert continues, “Curation itself is nothing new and has been happening on Twitter and other platforms for many years. But I see signs that more creators have shifted their attention from writing content to curating content lately. Considering the huge quantities of great reading stuff that are published every day somewhere on the web, I think this is a good development.”
I have mixed feelings. Curation is certainly useful, and I appreciate being pointed in the direction of articles worth reading. I click so many links out of Twitter and add them to Instapaper. However, an exclusive focus on curation strikes me as… boring. I feel suspicious of anyone who would want to curate as their main “creative” activity. I’ve never loved Daring Fireball for that reason, and also because Apple fanboys are annoying. Same problem with Tumblr: the vast majority of users are tricking themselves into thinking that collecting images is making something. It’s not. I’m reminded of that horrible saying, “People who can’t do, teach.” My stance is, “People who can’t create, curate.” Creating is a lot of work, but ultimately it is more fruitful and rewarding that curating. In my experience.
I view responding—what I’m doing right now—as different from just saying, “Here, read this.” But, y’know, that said, here are eight of the good articles I read recently:
^^^ “Hunger games” by Will Wiles, an essay on survival-based video games, in which the drama comes from scarcity, from scrabbling to get by. I don’t play games and this was still fascinating.
^^^ “How Junk Science Sent Claude Garrett To Prison For Life” by Liliana Segura, on the typical failure of the “justice” system. As a bonus, fire science!
^^^ Mat Yarrow warns, “This is the publishing industry’s iTunes moment—and we’re blowing it.” Yikes.
^^^ Simon Owens explains why news aggregation degrades the value of ads.
^^^ David Ulevitch of OpenDNS explains why “Superfish had to happen”: “Internet security and online advertising are fundamentally incompatible. Full stop.”
^^^ Also about advertising: “The Weather Channel’s Secret: Less Weather, More Clickbait” by Claire Suddath.
^^^ Romance author Courtney Milan shows that self-publishing is definitely more lucrative.
^^^ A short story about an ornery old lady who smokes: “The Ashtray” by Rolli.