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How content curation combats information overload

Ashley Neal
June 16, 2020
How content curation combats information overload

Associations need to focus more on content curation and less on content creation, according to a new collaborative whitepaper from Spark Consulting and Content Company Inc. As the abundance of available content increases, the ability to understand and recognize what is truthful and important becomes more and more difficult. 

Spark Consulting published its first whitepaper, “Attention Doesn’t Scale,” which discussed the emerging issue of information overload and provided content curation as a potential solution, in 2012. Eight years later, “Cut Through the Clutter: Content Curation, Associations’ Secret Weapon Against Information Overload,” addresses the worsening issue of information overload.

“The volume of information coming at your members and other audiences has only increased as the information cycle has sped up,” reports Hilary Marsh, Chief Strategist of Content Company Inc., and Elizabeth Weaver Engel, Chief Strategist of Spark Consulting, in “Cut Through the Clutter.” “They are overwhelmed with information, much of it false or untrustworthy, and are increasingly unable to discern what is reliable and what is not.”

As leaders in their respective industries, associations have the responsibility of educating and assisting their members with the overwhelming information available to the public. This is done through content curation, which is the act of gathering, organizing and presenting relevant information to reduce information overload. Typically, this is done by associations in three ways: sharing industry news, distilling industry trends and sharing original information from the association.

In an interview, the authors described why it is so important for associations to focus on their content curation, instead of adding to the abundance of information. 

“We have Google, so you don’t need to share what’s out there,” Marsh explained. “Anybody can Google anything, but is what they’re seeing trustworthy? Is what they’re seeing useful? That’s where the association can help be that curator selecting and adding context.”

Engel suggests being the source of relevant and important information by selecting items that allow associations to say:

  • This is what’s going to help you solve your most important problems.
  • This is what’s going to help you achieve your most important goals.
  • This is what matters to our industry or our profession right now.
  • This is how you can use it.

Most importantly, associations should be able to say:

  • This is how you can put this in a larger context of what’s going on for us related to trends in our industry.
  • This is why this all matters.

To learn more about how content curation combats information overload, download “Cut Through the Clutter: Content Curation, Associations’ Secret Weapon Against Information Overload” here

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Ashley Neal

Ashley Neal joined the Sidecar team as Community Coordinator in March of 2020, right as the COVID-19 pandemic began to shut down life as we knew it. Having to adapt, overcome and predict the changes needed to survive in the new normal, Ashley now has the skills needed to juggle any obstacle thrown her way. A soon-to-be graduate from Southeastern Louisiana University in the field of Strategic Communications, Ashley spends her days balancing her work and education with her love of dogs. Taking her three dogs — Scooby, Pipsqueak and Moose — to restaurants, hiking trails, vacations and even participating in dog shows and sports is the highlight of her weekends.

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