Monday, November 11, 2013

Curated is the Buzzword

Curated is the buzzword

Andre Willers
11 Nov 2013
Synopsis :
Torrents of Internet information is valved down to manageable proportions by fairly trusted editors .
Discussion :
0.This site is not curated except by myself .
1.Interesting is the evolution of crowdsourcing as editors more trusted than individuals .
See Appendix A
Any Website that gives a count of hits and “likes” is a Crowdsourced Curated site .
Humans trust the large counts more . (Or rather , is less likely to be penalized)
An interesting confusion of quantity and quality .
Or to put it another way ,
Quantity masquarades as Quality .
The perils of mass-democracy.
Note that crowd-sourcing was pioneered as “Scientific Peer Review” since 1600  CE
Plus-la-change .
Hence celebrities . Famous for being famous .
These are all mini-hysterical foci . The mechanism is the same .

These are intimately involved with the process .
3.Brands are already curated , but now inter-brand curation is being driven by advertisers .

4.How trustworthy is crowdsourcing really ?
On small things , very .
On large things , not at all .
The exception is votes .
5. If they want your money and the word “curated” appears , politely decline .
My big toenail is also curated.

Appendix A
'Curated news' means already-written news usually from a wide range of sources that has been filtered, aggregated and collated in a meaningful way. This is case with a site like HuffingtonPost. 'Socially curated news' can mean sites like or that rely on the power of crowdsourcing to filter, aggregate and collate, in order of relevance and popularity, the relevant news items of the day.
Appendix B
Editors and Brands .
Andre Willers
15 June 2007

See previous “Prodigies” I to V , “Dehydration” , Itarin2” , “The Religious Experience and Proximal rewards “etc , etc .


Editors create Brands .

A Brand is a single label that encapsulates a very specific set of characteristics .

One very important characteristic is the level of trust in the editor . This is encoded in the brand , but since it is a meta-characteristic (ie describing the brand) , it usually decays much slower . The brand itself is dependant on the product , but the perception of the reliability of the Brand is spread over the end-users , which change very slowly.

Hence , a brand can be established quickly , but take a long time to die .

This is also why magazine editors are not the stars . They might create the Brand , but their role is always underemphasized . Old age instead of euthanasia .

Attention is drawn to brands like mitochondria , hippocampus , cortex , immune system , old age , religions , Readers digest , Encyclopaedia Brittanica , Ford , Microsoft , etc .

An Editor takes an overwhelming flood of information and channels it .
The destination of the information can be of three forms:
  1. Null (ie wastebasket)
  2. End-user (ie fits a Brand category)
  3. Feedback (input needs some further work .) Circular feedback creates “clumps” of processing : ie Brands . For instance , some of the most effective advertising does not target the end-user , but this feedback process .

Examples of Brands :
  1. Genes (DNA editors generate genes : ie clumps of DNA)
  2. Chromosomes (phenotypes and cancers can be seen as chromosome editors)
  3. Personalities ( John smith is the brand of a complex set of data and body)
  4. Families (eg Hapsburg)
  5. Societal memes (eg religions , science)
  6. Companies (eg Ford)

As expected , the basic underlying neurological structure of humans plus the strictures of information-handling form a fractal landscape . Since apoptosis is essential and humans are mortal , it is also an iterative-cascade landscape .

The structure of a human neuron (with it’s many dendritic connections ) favours this on a hardware level .

A person or a face can be seen as a Brand .
It has been experimentally proved (via fMRI) that even a single neuron can recognise fairly complex Brands like faces ( honey bees can recognise human faces on a single neuron level) .

The corrollaries are obvious .

If fMRI shows that your brand (eg Coke , Napoleon , “Bridge over troubled waters” , etc ), fires up only one neuron , you have arrived .

The advantages are that an individual can navigate through quite complex information spaces using brands and the concommittant trust in the editor that he will be omitting and/or emphasizing only relevant data .

This process has been seriously abused by politicians in the 20th century . “Trust me . I’m the Fuhrer.”

But the flood of information has intensified since then . Complexification increases factorially with the number of input sources (ie population) .

People define themselves by societal and commercial brands .
“Prada meets Fiat” , “Pepsi Maserati” , “Gucci VW” makes sense to you , you poor thing . (Trust me , in a hundred year’s time you might as well be talking about the bee’s knees.)

Paradigm shift :
The trust in an editor becomes very important because there are so many authors . The risk of losing something original decreases , unless the author is many sigmas removed(ie very exceptional) .

A case study : Readers Digest .
The original editors were the founders (Wallace) . In the 1930’s people were faced with enormous changes: going from farmers to city-dwellers , flight , cars , cheap clothes , washing machines . As usual , there was the get-rich-artists , the doom-and-gloom merchants , crime , threats from foreign countries they never heard of before ,a major recession , politicians , etc . Each pumping out its own version of the truth .

The readers Digest brand is an Editors brand . In our terms , a moderated forum with a positive bias . All then available in cheap pocket-sized volume . Read what you like , disregard the rest .

But the facts were trustworthy and the bias known .

The Brand is very strong . People trust Readers Digest .

Department store is an analogue . A single management .
Fast forward to the present .
Cheap glossy specialist magazines (that you see on every stand) have sucked the readership away .

A Mall is the analogue .

In this process , the essence of the Brand got lost .

Can the Brand be salvaged?

Yes .

The competition for attention is enormous . “Readers Digest” still commands a cortical pause in visual scanning .

Unbundle the magazine into separate magazines with the brand of “Readers Digest”
Enhance the Editor (obviously an expert and fan in this particular aspect) .
(Refer to how Campbell did it with Astounding) .

In a really high intensity information flow , the editor becomes creative as well .
This is how your brain does it .


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