Is Curation Overused? The Votes Are In.

Mar 29 2014, 8:47pm CDT | by

Is Curation Overused? The Votes Are In.
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

So,  here’s a funny one… is the word “Curation” overused?  CNBC’s Brian Sullivan thinks so,  proclaiming it one of the 5 most overused words of 2014.  Let’s not quibble about the fact that we’ve just ended the first quarter,  so proclaiming any trend of 2014 is a bit premature… none the less here’s his argument:

He lists 5 words that are ‘over’.  CurateViral,  Hack,  Conversation,  and Snow.  He does call his list unscientific,  before he opens the voting to his readers.  Ready to see how “Curate” stacked up.  Well,  wait just a moment – I’ll tell you soon enough.

Here’s Brian’s argument;

Curate. Curating used to be a word we only used in museums. Somewhere in the last year ‘curate’ has morphed into a word people are using anytime they pick something and want to sound like it’s more than just picking something. “Our musicologist will now curate you a playlist that’s perfect for your evening playing Yahtzee.” “The travel itinerary was carefully curated to help you avoid other Americans.” It’s great we’re respecting the lost art of the mix tape, thank you. But unless you put that Picasso on the wall, you didn’t curate.

Now,  I hate buzz words as much as the next person – but the fact is that “Curation” has been on overused lists in 2013,2012,  and going back as far as 2011.   The real question is this.  Is it ‘overused or rather misused.

In 2012,  NPR’s Scott Simon wrote:   “How do I love thee? Let me curate the ways…In recent years, the word “curate” has been plucked out of museums and pasted onto everything from cosmetics, furniture and fashion lines to recipes, music- and photo-sharing websites and cat videos. Some new Sandburg might write a poem about Chicago: “Hog butcher for the World, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Curator of Railroads!”

And Upstart Biz Journals wrote – ‘Growth hacking,’ ‘curated’ and ‘big data’: VCs pick the worst buzzwords of 2013

In 2012,  ArtInfo listed “Curating” as overused: Overuse of “Curating” Reaches an All-Time High,

If you read them all – each of them say,  in their own way:  “I’m overwhelmed   I want a better way to find things – and diminising the world curation makes that harder.

I agree.

Curation is an editorial process.  It’s a mix of art and science.  It requires a clear and definable voice,  and editorial mission,  and an understanding of your audience and community.  It’s a critically important mission,  being made more important as the nature of content curation and distribution shifts. The firehose of unfiltered information that’s masquerading as content demands a quality curation filter.

So,  let’s start by putting our foot down and returning the world curation to the world of content.  Maybe we need the curation police to start handing out tickets for unlicensed curators and irresponsible use of the word.   If so,  you’d have to go back to 2011,  and this episode of Brian Lehrer’s show on WNYC. “The Brian Lehrer Show  From Creating to Curating”

So,  now we’re in 2014.   And CNBC’s Brian Sullivan puts it do a vote.  The most overused word of 2014 (so far?) Turns out – it was Viral!  Curate came in 5 out of 5 with a paltry 4% of the vote.

Source: Forbes Business


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