Someone Shoot the Messengers

“Most people make money pointing to content, not creating, curating or collecting content.”

-Rishad Tobaccowala

This quote is bouncing around today thanks to the WSJ. I think it makes a lot of sense and wonder if this thinking can help end the land rush around curation and the desire to be a “super curator”.

My genuine feeling is that, at this point, we have too many curators. If any major event happens (especially in the tech space) my social streams are now flooded with the same information and links over and over to the point of nausea. Everyone wants to share, I can appreciate that. People are also gunning for that coveted “first to post” status. This makes a little less sense to me, but is also understandable. As we build larger audiences across social networks we look for more and more ways to delight and entertain those audiences.

For the consumer, however, over-curation can be a really bad thing. A web service wins when it can distill a topic of interest (or many topics) into its purest form. Google has done this with search, for example. A contrasting example, on the other hand, would be Twitter. For both general feed consumption and search on Twitter, well, it’s a real mess. I’m sure we have all had that feeling of “OK, yes I get it, I’ve seen that headline 500 times now” when a major news cycle is making the rounds. I know I have, and with increased frequency of late.

Of course being in the tech space makes one more susceptible to over-curation, but I see the same patterns outside of tech. It’s also happening on platforms other than Twitter. Yes, even normal people are over-curating the web. From moms to mom and pop brands, everyone is resharing and it can be downright annoying.

It’s probably a good time for some more lessons on how to be a good curator before things get really out of hand.


Sean Percival

Sean Percival is an American author, investor and entrepreneur.