Curation as the third frontier of the web

One of my recent big interests has been related to our relationship with content on the web. I’ve written a few posts on this about the importance of old content, and on finding the best content on the web. I’ve been beginning to believe that curation will play a huge role in our relationship with content.

Today I stumbled across a great blog post that helped me crystallize more of my thinking on this topic by Patrice Lamothe (founder of Pearltrees) called The Web’s Third Frontier.

The most interesting part to me was a section on the founding principles of the world wide web:

The founding principles

These principles are simply the initial objectives that Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Caillau stated for their project. Eliminating technical jargon, these objectives can be broken down into three general, universally applicable propositions:

1-    Allow anyone to access any type of document

2-    Allow everyone to disseminate their own documents

3-    Allow everyone to organize the entire collection of documents

When I came across this, things began to make sense.

  1. Information access: The Internet allows anyone immediate access any type of document via a URL.
  2. Information dissemination: Blogs enabled simple creation of content, and timely dissemination has been enabled via mailing lists and RSS readers.
  3. Information organization: This is where we are stuck with limited options.

This is a huge insight. Access and dissemination have been solved. Organization hasn’t been solved, and it could be a game changer on the Internet.

As far as organization goes, we are limited to (1) the time-based nature of blogs and news sites, or (2) the retrieval process from automated search.

Curation provides a much-needed third option, and it sounds good in theory, but has been difficult to implement in practice. Outside of Pinterest, which is mainly about images, there hasn’t been another huge winner in this space (and many have tried!).

What will to take to crack the curation space? I can’t say I have an answer, but am starting to come up with some interesting thoughts. If you have any thoughts or opinions on current and/or future curation solutions, I would love to hear from you!

P.S. This is post number #99 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Or, check out my current project Soulmix.

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