Image via The New York Times
Great piece by Carina Chocano the other day about Pinteret, Tumblr and the “trouble” with curation. Ms. Chocano makes several great points, the most striking of which is: “your average Pinterest board or inspiration Tumblr basically functions as a longing machine.” That is, the reason why Pinterest and Tumblr are so addictive is because they fulfill our longing for longing—they are visual manifestations of our desire to want, aspire, and clip. But Ms. Chocano also takes aim at the so-called practice of image curation, saying that, in effect, it is closer to advertising than to actual curation.
I see what she’s saying. Often I have slammed shut my laptop, more than a bit sick of reblogging. But one can’t measure the fields of the present with the yardsticks of the past. Yes, attribution is a raging problem. Yes, original content is hard to come by. But still, the countless reblogs and likes and retweets shouldn’t be thought of in terms of the past uses of certain mediums. A photo isn’t just a photo. I don’t reblog a cool pic because I want to fool people into thinking I took that photo (and I don’t think any savvy internet user wantonly attributes ownership for anything nowadays). I reblog it because it speaks to me, because I like it, and I want to add it to the little collage that is my digital self. In other words, real people now use images, clips, gifs, etc to communicate. A photo isn’t just a photo, it’s part of a whole schema of a personality, and it’s how we use the internet in 2012. So, folks, don’t close off your Tumblrs yet. ‘Curation’ still has its place.