The Age of Curation

06/04/2010

Last month, Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps coined the term “Curated Computing.” Wired was quick to pick up on the story, adding another term: the Age of Curation. The most obvious example of both is Apple’s App Store, which carefully approves apps before selling them, but computer curating is used everywhere. Thunderbird’s tagging functionality, Google’s algorithms for ranking results are a form of crowd curating, Facebook’s ‘Like’ button like the one at the bottom of this post are just a few examples, and there are more with every passing day.

From the Wired article, by Eliot Van Buskirk:

“The Age of Curation (see? anyone can coin a catchphrase) began long before today’s conversation about curated computing. In this Age of Digital Excess (oops, there I go again), we’re surrounded by too much music, too much software, too many websites, too many feeds, too many people, too many of their opinions and so on. Curation is already fundamental to the way in which we view the world these days, and the iPad is hardly the first technology to recognize this.”

Submittable strongly believes that curators are essential to art and literary culture. How do we choose what to read or view? There are only so many hours in the day. Editors are curators. The internet has done everything to empower the creator but very little, so far, to empower the curator. It’s a million times easier to write and publish than it was just 10 years ago, but now it’s much, much harder to find quality content. And many editors are out of a job. They’re inundated with piles of submissions and then no one buys their products or pays them for their work. Work that is published on the web tends to disappear quickly, and the half-life of web content is shrinking quickly, whether it’s a tweet, a blog post, or a piece of high-quality long-form journalism.

We’re excited about this next stage, where software like our submission management platform can empower editors and curators with the same power that it’s given the writers and artists. Writers and artists will only thrive if their publishers, editors, and curators do as well. Submittable is a pivotal piece in this revolution. Here’s to thoughtful curation on the web, so that the best and most important voices can be heard and remembered, today and into the future.

Michael FitzGerald

Michael lives in Missoula, Montana, with his wife and two sons. He’s the CEO and one of the founders of Submittable and the author of the novel Radiant Days.