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The Creative Plateau and Content Curation

So why is the amount of newly generated content beginning to bottom out?  Here are three possible reasons:

1. The Innovation Adoption Curve


Fans of the innovation adoption curve suggest that the hype associated with socially driven and created content is beginning to reach its zenith. In other words, we’re all in for a long overdue reality check.

I don’t think this is the case - some early adopters may be getting tired of being bloggers or publishers, but I don’t think this social phenomenon has reached the early majority stage yet. After all, my Mum doesn’t blog. She probably doesn’t even know what a blog is.

2. Content Overload
A second possible (and more plausible) reason is that there is just too much out there already. People don’t see the point of producing new content when they can find it ready-made elsewhere on the net.

Some people maintain that “there is no such thing as a new idea”. Perhaps today it is more appropriate to say “there is no such thing as a new idea that hasn’t been blogged to death and hashed out in the social media universe already”!

Think of any subject. It’s almost certain that someone else has already published his or her opinions on it. When was the last time you saw a genuine GoogleWhack?

3. The Creative Plateau and Content Curation
Perhaps the most important point to raise about the creative plateau is that it converges with another trend: the rise of content curation. Content curation is an interesting alternative to content creation that many people are adopting, not only as a working concept but as a full blown business model.

At Organic Development, we’re pretty familiar with content curation and we will be publishing some more posts on the subject in the coming months. We’re also sponsoring the forthcomingLikeMinds Conference, which will be taking place on the 28th and 29th of October 2010. It would be great to see you there.

LikeMinds 2010 looks at how media is changing right now, and how curation is becoming the way to build long term value with markets through social media. To get regular updates, follow@WeAreLikeMinds on Twitter.

In the mean time, we’ve produced this handy table to help you get to grips with idea of content curation and how it differs from content creation:


Content Creation

Content Curation

What is it?

Content creation is the production of web content such as videos, photos, animations, music and articles. Creators use the Internet as a distribution tool for the content they produce.

Content curation is the human act of filtering online content. Much like a museum curator, an online curator unearths things that he or she thinks would be interesting or valuable to a larger audience and shares them. It’s important not to get curation confused with aggregation, which uses algorithms to filter content instead of human brains.

Why do it?

Creators agree with the much-used media saying “Content is King”. They say that without daily generation of new, exciting content, the web would be nothing more than a cyclical system churning out stale, recycled content.

Curators say that there is already enough content being produced on the net, and it’s got to a stage where we are overloaded with new information. In other words, the online world is too noisy.We need to develop and use effective filtration platforms to make it easier to find and organise relevant content.


1. Creators are empowered. They have the creative freedom to produce almost anything and show it off to a vast number of other people.

2. Creators can reap the rewards of producing popular content by charging for subscriptions or selling advertising space.

1. It saves users time. They don’t have to go trawling the web for things they want because it’s all neatly presented for them in one place.

2. Potentially, curation can add value to content by attracting more viewers to the original creator.


1. Because anyone can create anything, there is no quality control system in place. This means that for every funny, insightful or meaningful piece of content we come across, there are thousands more that are irrelevant, boring, pointless or offensive.

1. There are no real rules governing curation. If the curators do not come to a financial arrangement with the creators (and they rarely do), then it’s likely the creators will lose out.

2. It can negatively affect content creation. Creators may switch to curation because it involves (arguably) less effort.

So should I create or curate?

Well, there’s no easy answer. It’s clear that content curation is big business (60% of YouTube’s traffic comes from embedded players) and it’s here to stay. However, that shouldn’t put people off of creating new stuff.

Creation and curation are vital parts of the entire online media process, and users shouldn’t have to choose between them because the concepts aren’t mutually exclusive.

Do both. Create AND curate to your heart’s content. That way you’ll engage with your audience and enhance user experience.

This is a guest post by James Moffat, of our partners Organic Development:

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