Content Curation – When Did It Begin?

By Ron VanPeursem

Content Curation – When Did It Begin? image when did content curation begin sorting 300x202

If you’re doing any reading about Content Curation as part of an overall content marketing strategy, you sometimes see writers referring to this as something new. I remember when I started really getting interested in it back in 2011. So is it new? When did content curation begin to be included as a content marketing strategy?

When did Content Curation Begin?

Actually, it’s a pretty broad question, so let’s narrow it down to this: when did Content Curation begin to be discussed as a strategic content marketing tactic? I turned to our good friend Google, using time-sensitive searches to see what I could find.

  • 1998 – Nothing (data curation is a different issue).
  • 1999 – Nothing
  • 2000 – References to curation of content for libraries (no marketing).
  • 2001 – Nothing
  • 2002 – Nothing
  • 2003 – O.K., you’re getting the idea, right? I spent a LOT of time trying to locate that “first mention”.
  • 2006 – I’m going to include Carlos Granier’s article about the need for editors as an “early seed” in the emergence of the content curation discussion. He doesn’t refer to curation, but he’s wrestling with information overload, and the need to “quickly find the good bits of content in a world of endless [supply of] content”.
  • It’s not until 2007 that we begin to find embryonic thoughts about ‘curation’ as a content marketing tactic.

I certainly cannot prove that I’ve found the earliest ‘seed thoughts’, but I believe I’ve found some of them, and want to record them here for those of us that wonder about the beginnings of something that’s become a powerful, mainline trend in the overall scope of content marketing.

Content Curation: Earliest Thoughts

  1. February, 2007; Jeff Jarvis. He was talking about the ‘re-architecture of news‘, and did not even use the word “curation” or “curate” in the article. But I believe that Jeff Jarvis was barking up the curation tree. He observes the “news bombardment” that we were all beginning to experience, and the fact that people were going to find preferred sources for their news; places they could go, trusting that they’d find the news they were really looking for. He explained that the best service we can do for our readers, is offer them the best information, whether that’s something we create ourselves, or it’s someone else’s creation. It’s a very interesting article, with interesting comments (comments from 6 years ago!). He’s clearly wrestling with the beginnings of content creation. Read it!
    By the way, I contacted Jeff, and I really appreciated his humble comment and further insight on curation. Here’s Jeff Jarvis’ note to me:Ron,

    One never claims coinage for online an earlier usage can always be found!

    I would like to think I was early into a word that is now, I’ll confess, overused. What this thinking really led to is what became my most quoted line: “Do what you do best and link to the rest.” Actually, in the first instance, I said, “cover“.

    So curation fits into a larger context: It’s not just about aggregating and selecting links around a …read more