A little over a decade ago, when virality meant forwarding and receiving an email over and over, Harvard researchers Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons achieved this with their “invisible gorilla” experiment. It was a video of people tossing basketballs around, and the viewer had to count the passes by the people in white shirts. At some point, a gorilla saunters in, thumps its chest and leaves—which seems like a pretty big event—but Simons and Chabris found that half the people who counted the passes missed the gorilla. They called it “inattentional blindness”—essentially, they found that we miss a vast majority of what is happening around us—and that is the challenge in the attention economy. The volume of digital content is infinite and exhausting. Now, curators are stepping in to help you make sense of this vast, unwieldy world in the limited time you have.
Curation in the traditional sense is about reflecting on the world around us and helping people understand what they are encountering or experiencing, usually in the arts. It’s not very different from what we do at Lounge every week—bringing ideas and experiences to audiences—but in the digital world, it does seem to be far more lucrative.
As our cover story explains, online curators use the same tools for distribution and monetisation as influencers and deal with the vagaries of the algorithm much like every other creator, all while competing for digital ad dollars. In a sense, these curators are the masterminds behind what we choose to see and listen to, and subtly shape how we think. Yet, unlike the influencers, curators often struggle with visibility because people know the person but not the personality.
In keeping with the spirit of eclectic curation, we have a story on the chefs who plan meals for flights, a piece on the shrinking habitats for leopards, a review of the popular streaming series The Last Of Us by a fan who has also played the video game on which it is based, and a selection of books, films, clothing and events to spend time on this weekend. And if you are a chai fan, Tea Nanny Aravinda Anantharaman has a charming quiz to test your love and your knowledge. It’s our pick of the week.
Write to the Lounge editor email@example.com