Crowdfunding needs a curator

[blackbirdpie url=”″]

I have just read one of the most interesting tweets in a while, and I suspect that the author’s intention was different from the actual result. In case you cannot read the code above, it is a comment from Joe Hill to Neil Gaiman complaining about how geeks need help sifting through Kickstarter offers to tell them what to fund. It reads:

“There desperately needs to be a site dedicated to helping geeks figure out what to support on Kickstarter. We need a CURATOR.”

Allow me to explain why I find this so interesting. Kickstarter and similar sites exist based on the idea that in the digital economy entry barriers have been knocked down. While in the past one had to obtain the approval of publishers, producers and other gatekeepers in the creative industry, it is now possible to bypass those old structures and to try to connect directly with consumers. Moreover, you can get people to fund your idea through crowdfunding sites. Goodbye content curator.

Or maybe not.

What the above tweet exemplifies is that people are hungry for direction even in the direction-less environment. How am I supposed to know if the Kickstarter project I just read about is any good? Well, you trust the new content curators. Enter the digerati, the tweeterati, the Facebook elite, the blogging giants. It looks like we still need curators, but these are not the industry middle managers of yore, the new people who decide what gets the most funding are Neil Gaiman, William Gibson, George Takei, Robert Scoble, Margaret Atwood, Cory Doctorow, and Stephen Fry, among others.We created a democratic space, but still trust some people’s opinions above others.

I wonder if I can get one of the new curators to retweet this, the irony overload may destroy reality as we know it.

Comments 1

  1. Hi,

    I think that curators are needed only if it's a centralized system.

    Another alternative is distributing sites by content or different communities (a kickstarter at your neighborhood, or a kickstarter for RPG's only). Centralization only causes the same problems in the Internet that in the real world.

    Reddit works as a "curator community", distributing the criteria that determines what is relevant. That's a another way of distributing the process.

    Also, different communities might "curate" specific content, distributing the network even more.

Leave a Reply