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Check Your Pulse - Literature Notes

Last updated Aug 15, 2023

# Notes

#literaturenotes See Sources/Check Your Pulse - Newsletter

# #55: Community-curated Knowledge Networks

#community #social #people #technology

There’s a whole economy around knowledge organization available for the taking. 

While this presents enormous opportunities, our brains are not  equipped to deal with this abundance. 

the conversation around “curation” has been too focused on the content – “what should I read?” – and not enough on the structure – “how do we collect, store, and contextualize the information we consume?” We seem to have forgotten that the goal is not to consume more information. The goal is to think better, so we can achieve our goals.

We seem to have accepted the job of the curator as providing a list of links with some commentary on an organized schedule. But this format is subject to the same accidental property of social media; ephemerality.  What’s amazing is how chronological feeds — essentially accidental experiments of digital architecture — have rewired our brains. In the feed, everything is fleeting. This design property means you’re either always on and connected, or you’re off and wondering if you’re missing something important.  In short, the architecture of digital platforms has made us obsessive documenters and consumers of the present, yet largely indifferent to the archives we create.

The architecture of digital platforms encourage us to consume information because it’s in front of us, not because it’s relevant. It’s an environment that promotes distracted thinking and superficial learning.   The human brain is incredible at uncovering meaning, but is deficient at long-term memory storage. If we forget what we read, we can’t apply the knowledge to the problem at hand. With our current tools, the burden of memory is left to the individual.

The conversation around curation thus far has focused too much on reducing the amount of information, and too little on what other architectures might be possible outside of the feeds or newsletters we’ve grown accustomed to. While technology successfully disrupted content production, the experience of consuming content remains unchanged – the words have merely moved from a printed page to a screen. 

The Internet offers us the first major opportunity to introduce new, digitally-native information architectures that improve our understanding of the world through added context and relation. The potential to build community-curated knowledge networks remains largely untapped. There are reasons to be optimistic; the economic feasibility of paid communities, a renewed interest in curation, a slow move away from big social, and an improved understanding of platform incentives. All combined, this will lead to communities that are more sustainable, aligned, and intentional