This is the 100th post of this blog, started in July, 2015. Thanks to all of you who have read, commented, liked or shared one or more of the posts. So far there have been over 15,200 overall views and almost 9,000 visitors from 135 nations. I have averaged about one post a week, sometimes more, some weeks less. The blog continues to be devoted to Asian history but at times strays into politics and other issues including the future!
This past and present political season in the US reminds us that there are always so many more things to read (or listen to) and digest, with so many different views! There is a new/old word that describes what we need to do more and more: curate. I’m reading a book right now titled Curation: The Power of Selection in a World of Excess by Michael Bhaskar.
Bhaskar starts the book noting the astounding fact that IBM estimates “that the world now produces over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data-that is 2,500,000,000,000 megabytes-every day!” (My IBM friend Steve may want to comment on that). How can we possibly keep up?? We can’t. We are drowning in information. We have to curate.
Curation traditionally has been a word used in museums and collections, as in the need to have a “curator”. Or in some branches of the Church, to have a Curate, or one who “cares for” the people. A dictionary definition Bhaskar gives is “using acts of selection and arrangement (but also refining, reducing, displaying, simplifying, presenting and explaining) to add value.” On pg. 61, he calls curation selecting with a purpose, then arranging to tell a story.”
Because of the overwhelming amount of information every day, we are all having someone select for us what we focus on. The problem is we don’t critically examine who is doing the selection or whether we are getting a diversity of views. Last year I got an I-phone. It comes with a news service where I can see many different news outlet articles every day. I like it because it has Media from the left and the right both politically. But even then someone (or a computer) is still doing the curating!!
Curation is with us for good, I’m afraid. For good, and for ill. We may have an illusion that we alone select what we read or listen to. Certainly we can be disciplined to be careful in our daily intake. But still in our music, TV, reading and on and on there will be selections imposed upon us. Like so many times, the key is to become more self-aware of what is happening to and in us. We need to develop the art of purposeful choosing, arranging what we give our focus to so we can tell our story and not just the story of others.
There are so many blogs to read. Thanks for the act of curating to keep reading this one!!