The uber-smart Len Kendall, Alicia Kan, and the not-so uber smart me, have joined forces on a panel proposal for SXSWi 2012 on the subject of Digital Curation. It's subtitled "Why Value Over Volume Wins", and we're attempting to provide some useful perspective on the thorny subjects of information overload and digital content curation which I think provide some pretty fertile ground.
I've written before of my view on the future of content curation, but there can be little doubt that with the quantum shift that's taking place in the amount of information being created, this is an area which is changing rapidly and can only get more, not less, important.
As JP Rangaswami has noted, the production, distribution and consumption of all forms of digital information have been democratised, and curation seems rapidly to be going the same way leading to a change in the very concept of "the expert, the professional, the editor, the moderator of all that is great and good". Professional curation, whilst not dying, is undoubtedly undergoing a significant degree of change to take account of new tools, and new forms of collaboration (exemplified by some of the excellent work The Guardian have done in this area).
Meanwhile, apps like Flipboard successfully combine professional with social curation, Charles Leadbetter's adage that "we are what we share" is becoming increasingly pertinent, and many of us are getting increasingly adept at creating ways to filter signal from noise through social filtering using tools such as Tweetdeck, Twitter lists, Google+ to segment groups of people and the content they share.
Meanwhile services like Noah's Percolate use a combination of social and algorithmic curation to surface relevant content and in a wider sense, the alogorithm is playing an ever increasing role in how we find and access content every day. From apps that scrobble content consumption patterns over time to refine content recommendation, to the wider personalisation through data of news, search and information leading to some pretty searching questions about the data that is being collected and on the implications of such a rise in machine driven curation. “There’s a shift in how information is flowing online,” says Eli Pariser in The Filter Bubble (it's worth watching his TED talk on the subject), “It’s invisible. And if we don’t pay attention to it, it could be a real problem.”