The Pointless Debate Over Web Curation vs. Aggregation

For some time now, the hot new buzzword for Web services has been “curation.” Whether it’s Pinterest or Tumblr or Flipboard or News.me, everyone wants to ride the curation wave. What does it mean and how do you do it properly? And what makes it different from aggregation? Those kinds of debates have been around in one form or another since the Internet was invented, but they have resurfaced lately, thanks to two proposals. One is an attempt to come up with a “code of conduct” for curators and aggregators, while the other promotes the use of special symbols to give credit to original sources. These efforts may be well-intentioned, but they are misguided and likely doomed—as virtually every attempt to control the Internet has proven.

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