What does 2010 hold for the web, and us, its users? This is the question that launches a thousand articles, one of which I have read.
The first trend that strikes a chord with me is the search for immediacy or real-time exposure. This stems from the development of mobile connections and social networking. But immediacy cannot be divorced from curation. Immediacy, augmented reality and changes in privacy are all linked to that pivotal issue:
In the attention economy, with its millions of daily status updates and billions of Web pages vying for our time, how do we best allocate that scarce resource? One solution has been algorithmic: Sites like Google News source the best stuff by technical means, but fall short when it comes to personalization.
In 2008, the first and most obvious to this overload was to use one's existing social networks (friends, fellow professionals) as filters. But we should view these as an amateur dawn for the phenomenon known as curation:
Meanwhile, Google's Social Search experiment is investigating whether Web searching is improved by using information gleaned from your friends on Twitter, Facebook, Digg and the rest. Increasingly, your friends are becoming the curators of your consumption, from Web links to movies, books and TV shows.
Professional "curation" has its place, too: Who better to direct our scarce attention than experts in their fields? I explored this possibility in a CNN article last month titled "Twitter lists and real-time journalism" .
Curation is the key to the development of the internet. Curators, in whatever form, will act as gatekeepers to information. Like earlier incarnations, there will be aggregators, different forms and a race for status.
The key point here, will the need for curation spawn a killer app?