The curation issue

We live in a (digital) world where everything is curated. Sometimes by other people, mostly by AI. And that’s a good thing right? I mean, I like to have a site where I can go to get suggestions for the next book to read and I love to have always new playlists to listen to. All this is great.

Except, it’s really not.

Here’s my issue with curation and before I start, I must admit that I am part of the problem. I curate a couple of sites, mostly because I need them and also because I like to do it but I realize I’m not helping the cause.

My problem with curation is that you inevitably get stuck in a loop. I’ll give you an example. I have Spotify open pretty much all the time. As soon as I get in front of my Mac I hit play on one of the playlists Spotify has made for me and I get on with my day. Recently I listened to a lot of very relaxing electronic music and now my playlists are just that: relaxing playlists. Which is ok but sometimes you want something different and there’s no way for me to tell Spotify that I want to listen to something different. I obviously can go and look for something else to listen to, there are plenty of playlists I can chose from, but what I’m saying is that now the curated pert of Spotify, for me, is broken. I need to actively fight against it in order to get something new to listen to.

This is clearly not a really big deal when it comes to music but it’s a big deal when it comes to other aspects of our lives. Think about news or Twitter profiles or YouTube channels. If you get stuck in a loop of a certain type of news sources for example it’s hard to get out of it. You start following a few people on Twitter and without realizing your Twitter feed is a distillation of a tiny amount of what’s really out there.

The only antidote to curation is awareness. You need to be aware of what’s going on in your digital life. You need to pay attention to what’s happening and react to it in an active way. Tell YouTube to stop suggesting you certain types of videos, go find different people to follow on Twitter, read news from a different source.