I’m about to add a new entry to my list of lexical pet peeves. For lately I have noticed an increased misuse of the verb “to curate”.
Until a few months ago, “curate” wasn’t a verb that showed up all too often in online interactions, unless you were talking about museums. But of late, I have increasingly seen “curate” or “curation” used for blogs or newish social networks like tumblr or pinterest which mainly collect links and other materials from elsewhere, much like I do in my linkdumps. Here is one example, a blog I’ve seen linked all over the place late, which uses the c-word (no, not that c-word) right in the tagline. The blog actually appears to be interesting, but I tend to click away once I see the pretentious “curated by” in the tagline.
Look, you only curate something, if you work in a museum as a curator. And someone who runs the official website or blog of a museum could potentially call him- or herself a curator of internet content, though I strongly suspect that most of them wouldn’t.
But if you post interesting links, pictures or videos to your blog, tumblr, pinterest or other platform of your choice, you don’t “curate” anything. There’s already a perfectly accurate term for what you’re doing, namely “blogging” or “posting”. Or – if you mainly post links to content created by others (for some reason, the whole “curation” issue seems to run particularly rampant on sites that mostly repost content) – you can call it “reposting” or “reblogging” or “collecting” or “assembling”.
But “curating” just makes you sound like a pompous git.