A number of commentators have suggested that, in the near future, content curation will play a key role in technical communication. As more content is generated by users, there needs to be someone who manage this content and ensure users will be able to find the right information.
Techcrunch has just reported on how YouTube is dealing with content curation, and there seem to be a number of lessons that technical authors can learn from this. YouTube’s summary of its strategy is very succinct:
Find, Follow, Feed
YouTube’s approach is to involve the users in the content curation. According to YouTube’s Brian Glick:
Find refers to the process by which you find people on the site that you may already know or are interested in, whose activity you can then Follow through the site’s subscriptions (you can granularly control which items you’d like to be alerted to, like Subscriptions, Favorited items, or new video uploads). Finally there’s Feed, which should really be called Share. The idea is that after you’ve been presented with content by YouTube’s Find and Follow features, you in turn are going to share that content yourself, which lets the cycle begin anew with everyone that is following you.
Of course, this may not be possible where you have a significantly smaller audience, where there isn’t a million plus people contributing. Indeed, YouTube is looking into offering a reward system to encourage users to participate.
It also assumes the content is of an appropriate quality for others to get value from it. The concept of Find, Follow, Feed will look attractive to technical writers, however I suspect they are likely to implement it in a different way. Firstly, they are most likely to be doing nearly all of the finding, following and feeding. Secondly, they may need to add an additional step: finessing (or editing) the content so it’s of a suitable quality and accuracy for other users.