This week I came across the following article – I should tell you I once studied art history. You will understand my natural interest in the subject 😉 :
From Pop Music to Blogging, Everyone’s a Curator
– Kyle Chayka on Hyperallergic
In this post you won’t hear me talk about content curation from a “social media ladder” (Forrester) viewpoint. You can ignore the 1-9-90% story. Or the 75-23-2 version by Gartner. Anyone interested in the subject needs to realize:
- The numbers will change as more people get (more) used to sharing their information online;
- There are many different forms and levels of curation. You might as well lump the categories “1-9”, or alternatively “23-2” into one group.
Why would you do that? My answer:
Blogging is essentially high-level content curation.
Don’t get me wrong: not every blog reflects the same level of curation.
If you blog by selecting a couple of quotes from different articles about a subject you want to publish on and writing down why they are interesting, you’re curating content.
On the other hand, you could start by writing your view on a subject and add a few quotes. Curation or creation?
Or you could start your blog post with a quote which reflects a similar take on the subject or which contradicts your view – thus giving you an excellent starting point to explore the pros and cons of your insight. Most people would agree this is content creation. In terms of brain science it’s probably high-level content curation.
Blogging in your brain
In the Netherlands, Dick Swaab’s book “We are our brains” has been the center of some debate around free will and the question whether we have any. The controversy was largely based on Swaab’s assertion that what (and how) we think, feel, say and do is a result of influences on our brains throughout our lives, starting in the womb.
Swaabs opponents are mainly psychology experts who seem to take the idea of “No output without input” as meaning we’re compared to machines, only able to act in response to triggers. Let’s leave that kind of simplistic nonsense aside though, especially since I’ve read Swaabs book but only a few articles about the other side of the argument. Instead, I’d like you to focus on the following question:
How does this brain talk relate to the writing process?
When it comes to writing, the fact that I’ve read any number of articles and books in my life helps me to come up with all sorts of ideas. Think about it for a minute: when you’re new to a subject you need to learn about, you read, listen and think and rethink until you end up with a rough idea of what there is to know about that subject – which you can then refine over time or revise if necessary (this is the tricky bit for most of us).
Our opinions are based on the information that is available to us when we’re learning new stuff. If new information, which does not match the opinions we have formed, becomes available we have some serious ‘un-learning’ and revising to do.*
Content creation by blogging
Even if you make a point of sitting down to write without distractions, if you blog without referring to other authors and articles because you simply don’t know exactly where or when you got the first idea for what you’re writing, you are still influenced by all the information you have reviewed.
All the information you’ve fed into your brain is let out in your writing process.
This means that it may well pay off to be single-mindedly interested in one particular subject. Your interest means you can read about, and focus on, that subject and ignore other information. That in turn makes it easier to write about the subject without the distractions of a million other fascinating subjects.
So if you’ve recently taken up blogging and are finding the step from social networks or from curation platforms like Pinterest or Scoop.it a bit much to adjust to at times, I hope this post has helped you ‘revise’ your idea of blogging.
More about blogging and content curation
If you find all kinds of subjects are trying to find a place in your blog posts, you may find this earlier post useful.
On the flipside of today’s post are content curation and creation outside blogs. I could write a whole post about that, and I’ve already written one before: this one.
If you’re interested in my collection of articles about content creation (and content curation) I would invite you to check my Pinterest board.
* My first source for the term ‘unlearning’ is Frank Herbert’s book Dune. Just saying 😉
As always, you may your insights, and other contributions in a comment below this post.
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