Are you Creating, Curating or Consuming?

I’ve been thinking lately about my own interactions online, especially around content. There are three main ways that I work with content: creating, curating and consuming. Each has their own place but I’ll start by outlining each one.

Creating content is all about putting your own creations out for others to share. I’ve had this blog longer than I care to discuss and certainly since before microblogging was really a thing. It’s much lower investment to throw out a quick tweet about something and in lots of cases it’s a more appropriate medium (I no longer write blog posts about upcoming conferences for example). I often find myself wishing, especially when reading a good twitter thread, that more in-depth thoughts were being created and then shared in a way that make sense for that content. I still use my blog and share words as well as code here but sometimes I’m in the minority! I put my photos on Flickr but am also exploring Instagram for more abstract photography and pictures of stuff I have made myself. I think this type of creation is important – not least because I want to live in a world where I can read the writing of others, and I believe that showing up and actively participating is important.

Curating content is still about sharing but it is also about reflecting what is useful to others. That’s in contrast to creating things, where I really only do stuff that I’m interested in. My blog is mostly for my own reference or to save me from having to explain or fix the same thing a lot of times! Curation is about amplifying people, tools and ideas that I think are interesting. I mostly curate on twitter (yes I am also on Mastodon) but especially after reading this excellent article from Chris Shiflett I am moving more towards adding a few more words of my own rather than just a retweet. Choosing which voices to amplify (or not) is every bit as important as choosing the content itself and I feel some responsibility around choosing well.

Consuming content is our default. I want to keep exploring, discovering and reading. Scrolling down the timeline is not a bad thing although I do keep a lid on the number of people I follow on twitter and use a selection of hashtags and lists to follow my other interests. I actively seek out people who have thoughts longer than a tweet, frame those ideas in a written form, and are generous enough to share with others. Despite the best efforts of the ever present smart phone without a keyboard, I am on a constant quest to continue to contribute a well as enjoying the thoughtful work of others.

What is the “right” balance between creating, consuming and curating? I am not sure that I know but it is my intention to keep creating, to curate thoughtfully and add value where I can, and to cast my net wide and consume new voices that I might otherwise have missed. If you have advice for me or others looking to do the same: be a creator and add a comment below :)

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