Learning how to see: Curating vs. creating

contentmarketing_curation_creation

I have been fortunate to work with amazing people and speakers in preparation for their TEDx stage.

These are amazing people who are doing amazing things. They have amazing stories and ideas to share.

Our job as curators is to help shape their stories for maximum impact, that’s it.

We help curate their content, we don’t create it.

It’s their work, their projects, their stories, their content, not ours.

When it comes to online, this is what content curation and creation means:

Content Creation is the process of creating your own content from scratch and marketing it to your followers or subscribers. Creation forces you to think.

Content Curation is the process of gathering existing information like blogs, social media posts, or online articles relevant to a particular topic and sharing it with your followers. Curation exposes you to different thinkers and their work.

When it comes to TEDx, we don’t create the speaker’s work, projects, stories, or content, we merely curate what’s already there.

It’s a thin line, it’s easy to fall into a trap of thinking that since you are curating, you are creating. No, You are not.

If there is no creation, there will be no curation.

Creation comes before curation.

No content, no curation.

When writing a thesis report for a Masters or Phd report, one key question that students asks themselves is:

Am I creating new knowledge or am I apply existing knowledge to a different environment and using that different environment’s results as new findings?

A lot of students opt for curating existing knowledge instead of creating new knowledge.

Why?

Because creating new knowledge is time consuming, and expensive, something that’s left to full time academics to do, they are paid for such.

So a lot of students resort to content curation, connect the dots and write new findings.

When it comes to storytelling, you can tell new stories [create] or tell existing stories [curate]. New stories are more exciting than existing stories.

Curating existing stories may be fun, but creating and telling new stories is pretty awesome.

House Djs can curate and mix existing songs into cool songs, or they can create new songs. Often I enjoy new songs more.

Singers who write new songs, are more likely to stand out than those who do cover songs.

In the information digital world we live in today, there is a lot of regurgitation of the same content, more of the same, we retweet more than we create, resulting in noise.

It’s like being at Johannesburg Park Station or Gaborone’s rail park, lot’s of noisy traffic.

People posting, tweeting, uploading lots and lots of similar information on their timeline, hence trending topics.

Signal versus noise perfectly describes how we are living and working right now.

We want to be connected, both as business entities and as human beings.

But we are sacrificing hearing the signals because of the noise.

I have thought about this every time I sent a tweet or an email this week and asked myself: “Is this a signal or am I just adding to the noise?”

The ratio of signal to noise is more relevant to what you put out than it is to what you take in.

You can spend your days online endlessly curating, filtering and re-purposing content that’s already there, or you can create your own content, views and stories.

Are you endlessly curating, or endlessly creating? You can’t do both.

It is easy to convince yourself that the time lost exploring links down virtual rabbit holes is your real work. It’s not.

If you have time and energy to find ideas worth sharing, then you have got time and energy to bring ideas of your own to life.

Your real work matters. Send signals. Don’t just make noise.

PS: Creating and curating are equally important. They serve a purpose. If I had to choose, I prefer creating, I enjoy curating as well. Curating has helped me to create.

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