The Internet put thousands of years of human thought at our fingertips, and enabled billions of people to create content. At least 2.5 quintillion bytes of information are produced every day, which is approximately what was produced during all of 2002. While this presents enormous opportunities, our brains are not equipped to deal with this abundance.
In Curators are the new Creators, Gaby argues that this will create opportunities for curators — increasingly, we will pay people with good taste to help us sort through the ever-growing mass of information.
But thus far, the conversation around “curation” has been too focused on the content — “what should I read?” — and not enough on the structure — “how do we collect, store, and contextualize the information we consume?” We seem to have forgotten that the goal is not to consume more information. The goal is to think better, so we can achieve our goals.
There’s a whole economy around knowledge organization available for the taking.
Three intersecting problems remain unsolved:
- Our feed-based information architecture is obsessed with the present.
- We consume information recreationally, not as a way to achieve our goals.
- Curation has been too focused on the information and not enough on architecture; how we collect, store, augment, and utilize what’s already in our minds.
1. Our feed-based information architecture is obsessed with the present
We seem to have accepted the job of the curator as providing a list of links with some commentary on an organized schedule. But this format is subject to the same accidental property of social media; ephemerality.
Substack makes this worse. How often have you gone back to read an old issue of your favorite newsletter? Why bother when you’ll have a new one soon? Without an information architecture that supports a longer shelf life for content, we will continue to accumulate mental and behavioral debt.
In the early days, Google helped us make sense of this abundance. I still remember when a Google search led to…