Don't Confuse Content Curation for Content Filtering

Recently, the topic of curation has entered a few conversations with colleagues and I wanted to cover how curation is influencing much of the content we’re consuming, and what the risks and rewards of curation are. 

What is the difference in Curation vs. Filters? 

Some people confuse content curation for content aggregators or filtering tools, so it’s necessary to share the difference so we are all on the same page. 

Think of curation in terms of Wikipedia, where they provide curated information to users. Curation, to me, is users having the power to influence and generate content around a particular topic.   

“Curation is generally the selection of, care for and presentation of the objects entered into a collection, whether that collection is physical (such as items in a museum) or digital (such as entries in Wikipedia).”

via Wikipedia, a content curation tool currently in BETA helps to describe curation in this video. 




“Content filtering is the technique whereby content is blocked or allowed based on analysis of its content, rather than its source or other criteria.”

via Wikipedia

Content filtering is suitable for users who want to avoid inappropriate content, or perhaps make the content they’re consuming more niche, to ensure they are receiving the most relevant content. Online tools, like Google Alerts, provide users with the ability to filter the content by keywords so they can customize their content results. This is done manually, based on user preferences, and requires the control of someone determining the most relevant information.  This is not curation, this is simply filtering. 

Risks and Rewards

While many people, including myself, use curation tools to make our lives easier, I fear the day that I rely solely on these tools.  While you may rely on others to provide the most valuable content, I ask what their agenda may be.  Perhaps they’re only sharing one side of the story, not exposing themselves to new ideas and thereby, limiting the information provided to you. Users who restrict themselves to certain content curators may never discover resources outside of those curators. 

And what will happen to original content? At what point will all of us just be regurgitating each other’s thoughts because we’re too lazy to write our own content?  

Of course, there are many more rewards including, as a curator, becoming a leading voice in a particular field or interest and the ability to share valuable resources with others who share your interests.  As a curator, you may also discover new resources you may not have know about. As a curator, the ability to save time is a huge benefit since you no longer have to create lengthy original pieces but rather share your favorites and include a small narrative around it. 


If you want to explore more about content curation, check out some of these curation tools;




Do you think curation is influencing the content we consume for the better or worse?