A lot is being made of content creation these days. One of the most popular aspirational occupations among young people is that of “influencer,” presumably on YouTube or another social media platform.
It’s understandable to some extent. I mean making a solid if not luxurious living while creating funny, informative, or otherwise entertaining social media content sounds more fun and creatively fulfilling than a lot of jobs, frankly. Would you rather make middle class money formatting Excel sheets or selling insurance, or be a millionaire for making goofy YouTube videos with your friends? I understand why the latter is more appealing to a lot of people, especially kids.
Content creation is fun for a lot of us. I say this as a content creator myself! Of course I am not a content creator in the trendy, rich YouTuber sort of sense. But I am in the author sense! Creative expression is incredibly fulfilling even if you don’t make much or any money doing it. I haven’t charged any money for this newsletter for a few years now and I have maintained a passion for it. To create and share our creation with others feels good. It feels like good stewardship of God’s gifts. I love it.
But amid all of the hype around being a content creator, I think we need to recognize the tremendous value of being a content curator.
There’s Just So Much Out There
There are 788,400 hours in a 90-year lifetime, and many estimates I found on the internet suggest that many hours of YouTube content are uploaded every single day (some estimates suggested twice that).
So, we have one-to-two human lifetimes worth of video content uploaded every single day to YouTube. It would be impossible to estimate the number of news articles, opinion columns, and blog posts uploaded to the internet every day, but surely there are a lifetime or two worth of those uploaded every day as well. Who knows how many hours of podcast content the internet is burdened with every day, but it is surely too much.
In a time when it is becoming clearer with every passing day that it is simply impossible to keep track of our favorite writers, thinkers, influencers, and otherwise, the service of curation is only becoming more valuable.
Being a creator is popular these days, and understandably so. You get to use your creative skill, your intellect, and other gifts to provide content for people so that they are enlightened, encouraged, entertained, or otherwise served. And that’s great! There’s nothing wrong with being an internet content creator—I love doing it myself!
But I think we underestimate the value of curation and I think we often don’t realize how much the content we create isn’t really interesting and simply adds to the ever-growing noise.
There is just so much out there these days that people actually want to be told what to read in various areas of interest. Someone who is into bass fishing doesn’t want to go find the best bass fishing bloggers and YouTubers themselves—they want to read a newsletter that brings all of the best bloggers and YouTubers together and presents a menu of their latest offerings or even subscribe to a podcast that often highlights the insights of others over and above providing their own insights.
Curation is incredibly valuable. If you’re a content creator, or you’re considering becoming one, figure out how you can keep track of the other content creators in your field and act as a steward of their content for the people who come to you for whatever they appreciate about your work.
I get as much engagement and emails and questions about the content I link to in the Thursday Content Made Simple email each week as I do with the original piece I write here every Tuesday.
People want to be told what to consume because it is simply becoming too cumbersome to figure it out ourselves, especially if you don’t really know where to look.
Thinking of becoming a content creator? Consider being a content curator instead or at least in addition to whatever you create.
thank you for your content AND for keeping it free!
As a content consumer who also stays as far from 'social media' as possible; it is interesting to read curated and informed/informative articles. The sheer quantity of good and bad information being released every day is either a triumph of intellect; or a demonstration of the sewers man can invent. I am looking forward to finding a curated list of curated lists of curated lists...
I've thought about adding a curated content email to my newsletter for a while now. I need to pull the trigger on it.