Infocuration – is this the future of information management?

Future Thoughts 1 Comment

Information + Curation = Infocuration

It’s not a real word.  May never be.  But it’s my word for something that is bound to happen in time and is very much needed.

We are swamped with information overload – particularly online.  Much of what we see isn’t great quality and we feel as if we’ve wasted time looking at it.   If we want to find out/be kept informed about a certain topic, there are ways to do that nowadays but there’s still a load of dross getting in the way.  Say for example, you wanted an easy guide to getting started with Google+ – how long would it take to get the best guide?

Years ago I subscribed to a magazine called ‘The Week’, which was a great way to get all the news that matters from the week condensed within one magazine.    The big change for me over the years is that I’m interested in specific subjects (usually related to work) and there seems to be no definitive way to get top quality information fed to me about any particular subject.

Let’s say that I want to know just about Red Widgets.  I can set up various ways that will feed me information about red widgets, day in and day out.   But I can’t guarantee the quality of that information.

But what if there was a central automated system that pulled in all information about red widgets?   What if I could subscribe to receive quality information about red widgets?   What if the central system could detect what was spam, sales pitches, or general rubbish, and automatically stopped that getting through to me?

What if I wanted to automatically filter out ‘red widgets’ information that originated from various countries (e.g. if not interested in USA, China, India)?

What if I wanted only ‘red widgets’ information that has been published within the past week, month, 3 months, or whatever?

What if I wanted only information pieces that are less than 400 words long?

And here’s the great bit … what if, after viewing each item of ‘red widgets’ information, I have the ability to ‘rate’ each bit of information (from 0-10) and the central system took an aggregate of all people who rated each bit of information and decided whether to allow that piece of information to be used in its repository of ‘red widgets’ information?

What if I also wanted to see information that my social contacts (or people I respect online) have also seen, and rated well, higher in the list of what I see?

What if, through a combination of automatic curation of information AND human rating of information, there became a definitive source of really useful information about any subject I may be interested in?

The answer to all this is that I’m going to be happy to pay for it.  I’m going to subscribe at whatever the cost is and I’m going to think the cost is still too cheap because of the substantial value I’m gaining.

And what if those people who create the content that is judged ‘best’ by all the people who access it, get paid for what they’ve created, as a bonus for making the world of information a better place?  Or perhaps the top 10 pieces of content each month each get paid something , for each type of content?  How cool would that be?

‘Infocuration’ may never become a proper word but there are many companies working on the concept of information curation and so, whatever it’ll be known as, it’s going to happen because information overload is a serious problem that strangles efficiency.

The opportunities for businesses are huge and the need for good quality and expert writers within businesses (or outsourced) will grow.   And if there’s any doubt that this will be needed, consider the person who is a potential buyer of red widgets.  That person is UK-based and has some very definite criteria he’s interested in.  He only wants red widgets information that is:

  • From the UK
  • Less than 3 months old
  • Rated at least 7/10 on average

He is in a position to buy and if he reads a great piece on red widgets from a UK company that supplies red widgets, then he’s much more likely to make contact with them than any other supplier.

And the great bit about all this?  The buyer won’t have gone anywhere near a search engine to get the information they need.   The concept of infocuration isn’t going to happen any time particularly soon but when it does we can expect to see the major search engines buying up such infocuration companies and generating alternative (e.g. to PPC) revenue streams from selling subscriptions that supply ongoing quality information.

The future is never easy to predict but if this concept became real in a useful format (whatever what is) then I’d be first in the queue to buy.