Online Curating (Your Great Aunt's Milk Glass Collection)

Paddy Johnson was on a recent panel about "online curation" and gives a report. I'm more interested in carefully-accumulated labors of love on the web than pre-fab social media tools for aggregating content (which seems to have been discussed a fair amount) so I put in this plug for Paddy's own IMG MGMT series and a William Gibson quote I've been flogging for almost a decade:

[The] IMG MGMT series...has been one of the brighter lights shining through this foggy topic. You curate the essayists, the essayists curate online "artifacts" they care about, the artifacts lead to more content-- the whole spreads out, ahem, rhizomatically, taking the reader further and further away from the original cult of expertise and deeper into realms where they have to make their own judgments. Almost 10 years ago William Gibson wrote about "the otaku, the passionate obsessive, the information age's embodiment of the connoisseur, more concerned with the accumulation of data than of objects..." Gibson felt that "understanding otaku -hood [was] one of the keys to understanding the culture of the web. There is something profoundly post-national about it, extra-geographic. We are all curators, in the post-modern world, whether we want to be or not."

The blogging tools you and [Rex] Sorgatz are talking about are high tech ways to fine-tune personal obsessions and make them marketable (if not financially then in terms of building readership). Yet at the same time we are told newsreaders such as Bloglines and Google Reader are falling out of fashion. I wonder if [Mark] Zuckerberg's vision of "connection" and "likes" chips away at the authority of the obsessive--in the world of corporate social media, everyone needs to know about everything in order to be the best informed consumers of paid-for goods and services, and the old web of carefully cultivated "weird" collections begins to disappear.

As for this quote from panelist Rex Sorgatz related by Paddy, I wish Steve Gilliard was still alive to make fun of its sheer emptiness:

Furthering this point, Sorgatz explained the common creation story of a mid-2000 online celebrity. “It was a right of passage, particularly in early New York history,” he told us all, “To have an anonymous blog that got outed, and then the New York Times wrote about you, and then you got a job at Gawker Media."