The Intersection of Content Curation and Community Ownership: Redefining Creativity and Intellectual Property in the Digital Age

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Aug 31, 2023

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The Intersection of Content Curation and Community Ownership: Redefining Creativity and Intellectual Property in the Digital Age

In today's world of informational abundance, Maria Popova argues that content curation has become a new form of authorship. Similar to its origins in the art world, online curation involves curators with a specific point of view selecting content that they consider culturally significant. However, as the internet continues to evolve, the challenge lies in preserving the full dimension, context, and cultural significance of these information nodes.

One way in which Popova attempted to address this challenge was by starting a Twitter feed as an extension of her curated content. Surprisingly, the Twitter feed took on a life of its own and became the number-one discovery driver for new readers. This demonstrates that curation can have a life of its own, and new tools like Twitter challenge the traditional notion of attention as something that is either given or taken away. Instead, these tools allow us to direct attention to destinations where it can be sustained with more concentration and immersion.

While traditional media fought against the scarcity of information, new media now grapple with the overabundance of information. However, these new tools also enable people to discover the most relevant, interesting, and impactful information across various mediums. This networked ecosystem of meaning helps us better understand the world and each other.

Moreover, Twitter as a platform is constantly changing and evolving. Users themselves have introduced features like photo-sharing services to meet the demands of communication on this ever-changing platform. This demonstrates the power of Twitter in allowing individuals to express themselves and gather like-minded people.

However, the current models for crediting content curation and information discovery are inadequate. Finding a way to acknowledge this form of creative labor and codify its acknowledgement is the next frontier in how we think about intellectual property in the information age.

Moving on to the concept of "Exit to Community," the idea is that communities should become the eventual owners of the startups that serve them. Shared ownership is emphasized as a destination, recognizing that it may not always be the starting point. The dominant venture capital model in tech was established in 1979 when Congress allowed pension funds to invest. However, the playing field is not equal, and policies that support financing business ownership by communities, rather than just wealthy investors, are necessary for Exit to Community to become a fully available option.

Those seeking to create mission-led businesses can learn from the power of trusting in the day-to-day work of communities. Community-created and community-governed technology should be the default option. While going against the grain may require time and effort, the goal should be to make these experiences available to more people.

In conclusion, the intersection of content curation and community ownership highlights the evolving landscape of creativity, intellectual property, and technology. The power of curation lies in its ability to discover, contextualize, and connect information in meaningful ways. Similarly, community ownership represents a shift towards shared ownership and a more inclusive approach to business. To navigate this new digital age, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Embrace the role of curation: As content creators, consider curating information that aligns with your point of view and adds cultural significance. This can help you build an engaged audience and expand your reach.
  • 2. Advocate for policy changes: Support policies that encourage financing business ownership by communities rather than solely relying on wealthy investors. This can create a more equitable playing field and enable the exit to the community model to flourish.
  • 3. Prioritize community-based technology: When creating and consuming technology, prioritize community-created and community-governed options. By defaulting to these alternatives, we can foster a more inclusive and empowering digital environment.

By exploring the intersection of content curation and community ownership, we can redefine what it means to be creative, protect intellectual property, and foster a more equitable and inclusive digital landscape.

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