Where is the Content Curation Code of Conduct?
There has been much discussion since the advent of aggregation, which has led to curation in the vain of Huffington Post, about a code of conduct for Content Curation. This is an interesting issue, which has come to the fore as of late, and deserves much debate and discussion. A strong anarchistic aspect of the internet would rebel against any attempts to rein in an aspect of the online community which seems to have grown organically as a feature inherent. Large corporate voices, such as the print edition newspapers which are having to redesign their business model, rail against the curator (and tend to write them off as mere “aggregators”).
“Naughty aggregation is analogous to pornography: You know it when you see it.”
Coverage has been heavy since South By South West for an article from the New York Times discussing aggregation and Content Curation best practices. This coverage is significant not only due to the gravity of the publication, but as well for the level of discussion over best practices with a major publication which was only recently diametrically opposed to digital curation.
“…Aggregating has largely become the responsibility of young people hoping to break into journalism.”
Carr’s article, released 3.11.12, was followed up by New York Magazine writer Joe Coscarelli on 3.12.12. Coscarelli’s article is an interesting example of how a tongue-in-cheek satire can provide a legitimate insight. Full of satirical example, the article is a clear and concise how-to aggregate. While maintaining a sarcastic voice, the author is actually explaining Content Curation by diving into methods through which the curator provides insight and context.
“It’s called curation if you like it, aggregation if you don’t.”
Ingram is arguing that this uptick in Content Curation and Aggregation is nothing new to the internet, but their popularity as buzz words has led to renewed discussion of codes of conduct.
“While it may be well-intentioned, no one who is actually doing the bad things that the code is supposed to prevent will pay any attention to it, as Gawker has pointed out. Those who choose to “over-aggregate” content, try to disguise the links they provide, or do dozens of other shady or unethical things will simply continue to do them.”
There Is No Right Answer
Who is right? Which voices should be heard and which should be ignored? It stands to reason that a Content Curator is in no way performing the same duties as a Content Creator. In fact, one could not exist without the other. And though the creator could push their own product, without curators distributing the work to specific channels, the voice of the author would just be shouting wildly into the web. The curator assists the creator.
Most voices in the online community agree that Content Curation, much like so many other facets of the internet, will self-regulate. Those doing poor curating will be pushed aside as the audience is naturally drawn to a set of curators with a higher standard.