To create or curate? That is the Apple question

I’m torn.

I really want to be sitting at Steve Jobs’ feet again on Wednesday as he introduces whatever it is he’s introducing. Largely rumored to be not just a slate of some kind, but a new Apple TV, a new iPhone update, and new iLife suite.

If you’ve been living under a rock or in a coma for the past few months this has thrown the tech press into a tizzy. Right now on Techmeme just an overheard item from Steve Jobs has the top place (who cares if it really is true or not, as long as it has the words “Steve Jobs” and “Apple” in the headline).

Don’t believe me? Look at my list of 500 of the world’s top tech press. In between messages about football this weekend has been tons of speculation about Apple.

But that got me thinking “should I go to Wednesday’s event or not?” I thought I’d put it up for a vote, so here’s the pro’s and the cons. But deeper than that, I wanted to show there’s value in curation, not just in creating content. Let’s talk about that later more.

PROS OF GOING TO APPLE EVENT AND “CREATING CONTENT”:

1. I’ll get to see the new device a few seconds before Engadget will get to upload pictures of it to its live stream.
2. I’ll get elbowed by CNN in a fight to get close to Steve Jobs for an interview that won’t be exclusive anyway.
3. I’ll get a free donut or bagel and some lukewarm coffee from Starbucks.
4. I’ll be able to tell my grandchildren “I was there when Steve Jobs introduced the iSlate.”
5. I’ll be able to argue with Katie Cotton, head of Apple PR, about whether I can use a Google Nexus One to Qik live video out to all of you.
6. I’ll be able to hang out with the God of Gadgets, Ryan Block, who co-runs GDGT along with Peter Rojas, the guy who started Engadget.
7. I’ll be able to beg Walt Mossberg for a ticket to All Things D, the conference he does every year with Kara Swisher.
8. Speaking of Kara, if I’m there she’ll interview me with her Flip cam and ask me a funny question, usually along the lines of “how did you sneak by Katie Cotton?”
9. I’ll be able to race the entire press corp down to the Apple store which has decent wifi and try to upload a video from there, since Apple doesn’t give you good wifi at these events because they want you to see the device first in glorious HD from ABC or CNN, not from some blurry Qik cam. Seriously, at the Apple event I was at you aren’t allowed to use video devices in the first few rows, so there’s no chance to get decent video. And, anyway, unlike at Google, Apple will have a glorious HD version of its own up on its own website within a few hours anyway.
10. After working my behind off trying to get SOMETHING that one of the other press people won’t get (yeah, right Scoble, you’re going to get an exclusive that CNN or BBC or New York Times won’t? HAHAHAHHAH) and giving Apple even more free press than I will anyway they won’t give me one to try for a month, like Google did with the Nexus One. No, I’ll have to wait in line and buy my own. On the other hand, Walt Mossberg and four other hand-picked journalists will get a press demo unit to try a month before anybody else.
11. It’s possible this is Steve Jobs’ last “big product” development at Apple so there may not be another chance to be part of a press event like this again.

PROS OF STAYING HOME AND “CURATING” THE EVENT:

1. I’ll be in my pajamas and won’t need to wake up at 5:30 a.m. to make it to San Francisco in time to beat Ryan Block in the door.
2. I’ll have great wifi and four computers with more screens than the average Avatar special effects nerd at Lucas Films has (really, I visited there two weeks ago and they have small screens).
3. I’ll be able to watch 500 of the world’s tech journalists in real time and will be able to pick out the best reports.
4. I’ll be able to write a blog in peace and quiet and put together the best reports.
5. I’ll be able to make it to the Palo Alto Apple store before any of the Press Corp will, and since they are all up in SF I’ll get the best geek story of reaction from Silicon Valley store visitors.
6. I’ll be able to mix Engadget, Crunchgear, Gizmodo, Gearlive, and all the other blog posts together and put together a more complete picture than any of them will give.
7. I’ll be able to talk with my friends in China, who probably know more about this device than anyone except for Steve Jobs anyway. If I’m stuck in the event I won’t be able to make phone calls to do original reporting while the event is going on.
7b. I’ll be able to call — while the event is going on — other execs at other companies like Google and Microsoft to get their take on things and will be able to report that in real time.
8. Unlike most tech journalists, who will only link to their own stuff, I’ll be able to tell you — in real time — who has the best photos and best streaming video or audio from the event. After the event I’ll be able to link you to the best reports. Yes, Techmeme will do the same, but Techmeme has its bias. Just tonight Techmeme linked to a story about YouTube that had been broken by someone else a week ago.
9. I’ll be able to get on audio shows, like those from Leo Laporte or Steve Gillmor or Clayton Morris or Louis Gray and get the first punditry out. I’ll be available in a quiet place to do shows from BBC, Fox, etc that would be very difficult to do from the floor of the event.
10. I’ll be able to hang out with the other hundreds of thousands of geeks who didn’t get invited to the press event and since I won’t be able to get any exclusive news by going anyway they won’t be jealous of me and might invite me over for a beer in the afternoon while griping that they, again, have been locked out of an opportunity to sit at Steve Jobs’ feet and drool on the floor while seeing stuff that will cost us all at least a few hundred bucks and probably thousands over the next few years.

I guess you can see I’ve pretty much made up my decision, but what about you? Would you go? Why?

BACK TO CURATION AND ITS IMPACT ON NEWS

OK, that was all pretty tongue-in-cheek, but there is something to this curation argument. After all, where is the value in the news chain? Is it taking a photo that 60 other photographers will take? Is it trying to compete for video with CNN, ABC, BBC, etc, all of which have $100,000 HD cameras, not to mention that Apple has its own multi-camera video crew that will shoot video that’s better quality than anything you’ll be able to make anyway?

Is it in writing an article about the specs? Come on, please do be serious. Engadget, GDGT, Crunchgear, Gearlive, and Gizmodo will all do those and have distribution to boot. Plus they will each have teams of people there and, probably, will have the spec sheets in their hands hours before the event anyway. When I was at the Palm event at CES last year I saw several journalists had their entire articles written BEFORE the event and were just waiting for a quote and the embargo to end before posting them. You really think you can add more value there?

How about thinking you’ll get an exclusive by hanging out with Steve Jobs and he’ll whisper in your ear something he isn’t going to repeat to everyone else. Hey, it could happen, right? And I could win the lottery too.

But, look at curation. I know all of the tech journalists and have been studying them for years. Here’s a set of my Twitter lists, which you can watch yourself in real time:
500 of the best tech journalists.
433 tech venture capitalists.
500 company founders.
339 tech company executives.
500 iPhone developers, businesses, and influentials.
493 of the world’s top tech news brands, from CNET to Techcrunch, and have a list of them.

I can watch all of these lists in real time and curate news from any of them. Also, because I’ll be home in front of big screens I’ll be able to see patterns, like the differences between how tech journalists and tech company executives are reacting to the news, and report that to you. That’s something that very few tech journalists have demonstrated they are willing (or able) to do. Look at how few tech news brands have created comprehensive lists like these of the tech industry.

Add to that over on Facebook I have a list of the world’s top executives, including those who run Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, and lots of other companies and I’ll be able to call and do reporting from my seat.

I can watch all of these lists in real time and put patterns and reports together from across the industry. To me that’s more valuable than even just watching the keynote live. Which explains my choice.

But none of that really compares to the real fun we’re going to have on Wednesday: we’re all going to be able to curate this event together in live time thanks to Facebook, FriendFeed, and Twitter.

See, I’ll be also watching my stream from 17,500+ of you. So, if one of you gets some exclusive news (which is more possible than if I went to the Apple event, since some of you probably have relatives building the device, or friends who work at Apple who are giving you a sneak peak, etc) then I’ll be able to see it and retweet it before anyone on the event floor will be able to see it.

Already if you watch my favorite tweet feed, which this weekend passed 13,000 tweets, all hand favorited by me in just the past eight months, you’ll see the best of the Apple news.

To me THAT is what really has changed about news in the past few years. It’s not that any one of us will get an exclusive but that those who are good at sifting through large numbers of tweets, most of which have tons of noise, will be able to curate a story that no one journalistic team will be able to build on their own.

But, either way, it’ll be fun to watch on Wednesday and my curation hat will be on. Which would you rather do? Create or curate?

Oh, by the way, I bet that Steve Jobs shows off a system on Wednesday that will let you BOTH create and curate and that is why Apple will win this week, big time.

UPDATE: On Wednesday I’ll be giving away my Kindle 2.0 (the small one). It’s not heavily used, in perfect condition. After Wednesday I doubt I’ll use it much so might as well give it away. And, if Apple’s tablet is a huge disappointment (yeah, right) I’ll be able to buy the bigger Kindle anyway or try out Barnes and Noble’s Nook. Anyway, to win it just leave the best response in comments below. I’ll announce the winner at the start of the keynote.

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

132 thoughts on “To create or curate? That is the Apple question

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  2. I think being at the event is more of a blessing, because social media in some form, misses the message or the feeling that Steve will try to get across about his new device. Steve will give his message of his vision for the device for all of us. I more interested in how this will impact upon us, so I know how to create,and distribute the content to this new device. Hopefully you get to ask a few questions. Post a video on your take of things from the event. I also heard that we in OZ may not get the device for the first 12 mths like the first iphone. So please me for the Kindle, as I can use this to prototype, how to create and style the content to the new device. Also UPS do deliver to my doorstep. Do I need to pay for the UPS delivery fee. We can only get in oz one type of Kindle device, via a carrier, and apparently we get the content delivered via our expensive 3g service. So much for trying to buy books upon the OZ kindle. Plus the geek factor of having Kindle in OZ is like OOHHHHHHH WOOOOOOOW

  3. Speaking as the “poster boy” of social media aggregation: http://blog.SocialAggregate.net I vote for curation because my personal experience, especially since the Iran election protests: http://Azadi4Iran.info & http://bit.ly/wapoth , demonstrates that curators add considerable value in dealing with the torrent of user-generated content which we now face. Not only have I been able to “be” at so many events via social media, but I have made it possible for so many others to join me as we are NOW grappling with the tragedy of the Haiti earthquake: http://HaitiUnion.info where not only can we not go ourselves, but we'd only get in the way if we did!

    Especially in my teaching, I am “pushing the edge of the envelope” not only via social media aggregation, but also as I experiment with curation of Twitter lists: http://twitter.com/cit49900/spring2010 & http://twitter.com/cit49900 to assess learning and to try to create a virtual study abroad experience for my students in: http://cit49900.LearnStream.info

    I could go on and on: http://DrThomasHo.com but I think you get the idea!

    By the way, you ought to give me the Kindle so I can give it to my 14-year old daughter because I doubt I'll be able to “afford” to give her an iSlate as I contemplate retiring from academia in order to devote myself to harnessing social media for learning, non-profits, and other redeeming causes as my personal experience has persuaded me I no longer need my academic affiliation to provide either the information technology infrastructure nor the “brand” on which I had been trying to depend to help me to get the word out!

  4. Robert, The hype is noise to me. I respect it's fading glory but am happy to see it on the way out. Just wrote about it a little this morning. Marketing isn't news to me. It's paid advertising.

  5. Well put William, but the lazy viewers are really just time strapped, and they exchange their attention for content aggregation. It's a fair bargain, certainly when it saves the user time overall.

  6. Hi, Gib — curating digital content is not the same thing as curating an art exhibit.

    For the artworks analogy to work, the curator would need to snip bits of each painting and paste them together to form something new. And we don’t want to see the entirety of each artifact: each article, Tweet, video and op-ed. In this space, “curation” is a form of synthesis.

    More here: http://wiredpen.com/2010/01/26/to-curate-or-cre

  7. The announcement is about 2 things. Diversification and changing the user experience. This is what Apple does best. They let someone else invent the platform, then raise the bar so high that they become the standard. They did this with Music Players, Music web sites and now ebooks. It's already been asked if Apple is a music company who makes computers, or a computer company that sells music. The bottom line is that it is not about the hardware. It's the user experience.

  8. Curate. As much as everyone loves Apple's “events” and their products (I truly do enjoy my iPhone. My Macbook Pro… slightly less. It's a computer, at the end of the day. Not really an “experience”.), the reality distortion field on this event is getting to be a bit out of hand. And let's be honest, everyone there will be sucked into it regardless of how immune they claim to be against the “Jobs Halo Effect”. The separation will be good for you, Robert, as I think you are somewhat susceptible to suggestion. I remember when we were both at Microsoft and you were as gung ho about that as you have been of anything else since. My $0.02, which is hopefully enough currency to purchase your Kindle. ;-)

  9. You put this very well in perspective. Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, blogs, comments, reactions can be piped in around a focused topic or event, giving you (or anyone) a 360 view of the information, news, analysis, as if you were there. And you won't miss being on the floor, because there'll be tweets coming from there, relaying the essence of what mattered.
    The same analogy can be said about the World Economic Forum for example, another event that one can follow via social media, aggregators, Twitter, etc. almost on a minute by minute basis.
    The only trick required is to have that “system” of sensors, lists, filters, accounts & aggregation mechanisms that allow you to efficiently consume these fast & furious streams.
    In the case of the WEF, that's where the power of a comprehensive/custom aggregator like Eqentia enables someone to “follow” the many facets of the event, without tinkering with feeds & speeds. Same for the “Scoble” aggregator we put together about you, where a “lazy” consumer can just look over our shoulder from one place.

  10. As someone who enjoys the never-ending stories curation offers, and who also knows none of them would be possible without creators, I'll say that in the tug-of-war tomorrow between “create” and “curate” that I'll try “consume.” I'll be in a client meeting during the presentation, so will miss out drinking from your fire hose of commentary. Instead, in the afternoon, I'll sit back, open my browser, go to Apple.com, and enjoy what's been prepared for me.

    Once in a while, I believe, it's okay to enjoy something with a beginning, a middle, and an end simply as it is. A Kindle appears to offer that experience nicely.

  11. Robert,

    I'm going to disagree with the horde here.

    Curation is not creation.

    Curators in galleries show us the beautiful and tell us the value and then sell us the artwork. That's very different from being an artist.

    I don't agree with the producer comparison StephenPickering made. What I think you're talking about is not what a producer does — working closely with specific artists and producing a cohesive whole.

    From following you for years, I think the question isn't curation vs. creation, but being a pianist vs. being a rapper.

    The pianist hopes good music is put in front of him, and plays, and leaves at the end. The rapper mashes it all up, old, new, borrowed and blue.

    I think it would be fun if you didn't just curate everyone else's material with your ranking and commentary as you've done in the past, but do that and give us new content that's live, but not at the event.

    For instance, maybe time-released posts on the major points of the presentation. I'm guessing they all have a beginning, middle and end, plus a turn-around “one more thing” moment. Would also be cool if you stepped before the lights with your guests and discussed a few key parts of the presentation — sort of like major, non-geek media events like the Macy's Day Parade or New Year's Eve or the Golden Globes or Mystery Science Theatre.

    I'm harping on the idea of mixing it up because at 30+ years in tech, there will be more and more events where you've Been There, Done That™ and a mix-up, mash-up special would be so much more interesting to me than a more pure curation race.

    That said, just for the irony of it all, I wish you or someone else would live stream whatever they could from a Nexus One while Twittering at the same time.

    I'm sorry you've pre-given up on Kindle, and I'm guessing, all non-backlit displays. But if you must… I'd love to have yours!

  12. If you follow Steve's suggestion, may I riff on it? Mentally take notes during whatever portion you attend (or on your Mac), and then publish a post called, “Why I Walked Out On Steve Jobs” or “Why I Walked Out on the Apple Table,” etc. Then when you go to Starbucks for scalding hot coffee and WiFi, do your curation.

  13. In this particular instance there is no doubt your curation of the event would be more valuable to readers like me than if you where there live. But I can see other contexts where you can become a larger part of the event and more will be gained from your attendance. So I think you will still have to make individual decisions on most of these.

    Are you just hanging on Twitter tomorrow or will you start a Friendfeed room to involve us?

  14. If I was…

    An Inactive: I’d be been living under a rock or in a coma.

    A Speculator: I’d be talking about Google’s folding g-Tablet.

    A Joiner: I’d be waking up at 5:30 a.m. to make it to San Francisco in time to beat Ryan Block in the door. Or better yet, driving to Scoble’s place for fresh croissants and cappuccino (instead of donut or bagel and some lukewarm coffee from Starbucks at YBCA).

    A Collector: I’d keep my Kindle (which I don’t yet have, but so hope so to win and to keep forever).

    A Critic: I’d be curating the event from Googleplex with Sergey, Larry & Eric.

    A Creator: I’d be Steve Jobs, presenting my last big project.

  15. After hearing Robert speak about this 'real-time web' and the value of curation. I am convinced that he not only gets it and can convey it but he's also the exception that proves the rule 'those who can't do, teach' – especially prevalent in social media! It does come down to original content. We all have a saturation point beyond which we get information overload, have type a limited number of words per minute that we can type (and even less on the iPhone!). There will be better flip-cam operators out there, and those who get an edge getting past the PR blocks (although Robert's undoubtedly a pro there!). Compare it to the financial markets; a trader at home watches a single stock ticker flash, and seeing a price movement that has already happened feels 'sure' they can beat the hedge fund connected with sub-millisecond connectivity to an entire quant-driven computation plant next door to the exchange. It's nigh impossible. News get a taste of this today in the real-time web. We get many many data sources, many feeds of similar value at the high end. We can all be looking at the same 'almost perfect' data, it's up to us to develop methods of cleaning it. Curation = Creation – you no longer have to choose between being a curationist or a creationist. That said… there is one thing that would sway me to create. A series of astounding favors fall into place and Robert is able to convince the *other* Steve (Ballmer) along. Have him do a iSlate signing, fumble it like he did Guy Kawasaki's MacBook Air @ MIX, threaten to take it out the back to compare it with his 'tosh'. Mention to the reporters that it's not for business 'because it doesn't have a keyboard'. Robert leaves his iPhone with Michael Arrington so he can express his view, from his twitter account to himself. All return to Half Moon bay for light refreshments with Don Dodge and a Google exec. We can dream can't we? Curate it is then!

  16. Yeah, it makes me think too. If I were giving advice, I wouldn't worry about it so much, just follow your interests. At times that may lead you into creating, at other times it may lead you into curating, but as long as your interested in what you are doing, having fun, it'll provide value either way.

  17. Hi, Robert, it's been fun reading the comments and chuckling at your pro/con list. :-)

    As Cathleen notes, the either-or question is not create or curate. And it's really not Live or Memorex — because you'll be able to consume real-time information (ideally a live video stream). The either-or is experience (one thing, in the flesh) or observe (many things, virtually). Until we can teleport in a flash, only you can decide which path provides the best cost-benefit ratio, which provides the best value for you (however you define that).

    But ask yourself: what is the experiential value of being first in line to buy an iPhone versus being at the keynote when Jobs made the iPhone announcement? Because, in effect, that's the choice you will have made if you stay home on Wednesday (which it sounds like you are going to do). If this product is anything like the hype that precedes it, then your only opportunity for an experience-related memory will be hanging out in line. Again. :-)

    As far as “creation versus curation” — there is no either-or. Curation is an act of creation. Curation, in this case, means identifying and organizing facts/data/opinion in order to further knowledge. Good curation, as I see it, benefits greatly from context, and context is usually not found in reports (news stories) from live events. Good curation requires time, subject matter expertise and, I believe, passion. Thus, you were correct in your observation that being present at the live event would limit your ability to curate well.

    In an era where the currency of scarcity is time and attention, good curation will be valued over “I was there” reporting. Yes, someone needs to be “there” but so long as we have, in effect, “pool coverage” then the important work, the “value add” work, can be done remotely. One warning I have for this observe-from-a-distance model is the very real loss of any real-time serendipity coming into play. (On the other hand, there could very well be virtual serendipity in the curation model.)

    There you have it. I wish I were in SFO and had one of those Stargate SG1 devices or Harry Potter potions that let you assume someone else's appearance. Because I love Apple (own stock) and haven't been to a keynote, I'd impersonate you!

  18. Sounds like your place is going to be hopping! Are you going to send out a video stream while this is all going on? It would be interesting to see it all happening. People watching you watching people…and everybody learning something new.

  19. Create or Curate – I am disappointed you have missed the Third choice – collaborate. This is the world of social media – multiple interaction and involvement – Go there, but get one (or more) people to filter and feed to you…)

  20. Hi Robert. You're on a roll with stellar posts the past couple of days.

    First, Saturday's item on social media incentives rocks with a masterful blend of savvy analysis, personal experience and useful suggestions.

    Then, you follow up a day later with a thoughtful discussion about content curation, which is becoming increasingly important because we no longer have the time (or patience sometimes) to keep up with the non-stop, daily deluge of news and information. Apple's alleged tablet introduction is sure to create an avalanche of extra content that could easily overwhelm readers only looking for essential specs and where-to-buy information. A content curator can dramatically improve things for readers by filtering wire service reports, company press releases, blog posts, tweets, YouTube videos, forum discussions, etc., into a well organized, easily digestible package that answers readers' essential questions and gives them context to sound intelligent and even a little bit hip chatting about the tablet around the watercooler at work, with other moms at their kid's playgroup, or with classmates on campus.

    Robert, I have no doubt that you can curate the heck out of Wednesday's Apple event. You have the experience, the network and the passion to not only aggregate the key need-to-know information but also to craft it into a package that is more relevant, more useful and possibly more fun than any single post or video you could produce by reporting from the event live. You would be creating a unique product that enriches commodity facts with your thoughtful perspectives, your sharp eye for spotting trends and your tell-it-like-it-is, yet conversational, style that always makes your writing a pleasure to read. As someone pointed out earlier, curation is content creation 2.0, and you would be helping to define its evolution by curating the event from home instead of covering it live.

    Hopefully, we can agree that this isn't a choice between creation and curation. But an important question remains about whether you should cover the event live. Robert, you're not only a tech maven; you're also a recognized Internet brand. Your readers and followers might have an expectation that you should cover such a historic product introduction – and perhaps date in Apple's company history – in person from ground zero. They might be disappointed that you're not streaming one of your signature videos in the minutes before Steve Jobs takes the stage. And they might expect to see you corralling reactions from key analysts and developers after the event on the virtual red carpet you and your camera automatically create.

    Ultimately, there's only one question you need to ask. What's going to serve your audience best? Covering the event live from the venue? Or creating a deep, context-rich curation that might be more useful overall? As journalists, we need to do our damnedest to give readers the most timely, accurate and authoritative reports possible from any breaking news event. Thanks largely to same technology that's created so much information overload, I believe that you probably can curate the event from home while still bringing readers the news accurately and in near real-time. I'm always a proponent of experimenting with new solutions, so I say you should take a stab at curation. Some of your audience might be disappointed to find out that their inside man wasn't actually inside the venue when Apple unveiled its tablet creation, but you can change their disappointment and confusion into praise and brand equity by nailing the impact of Apple's announcement, adding top-notch analysis, spinning the story forward, answering questions from the crowd and bringing context to their rants on Twitter.

    Separating distinctive content from a larger pool of mediocre dreck, then prioritizing it, adding context, and packaging it intelligently – all on deadline – probably will require at least as much – if not more – time and energy than covering the Apple announcement live, especially if you're striving to craft a first-rate curation that sets the standard for others to follow. If anyone's up to the task, it's you Robert, so go forth and curate. I can't wait to see what you come up with. Cheers!

    (About the Kindle. I have my own, but I'd happily hand it over to any relief group in Haiti that could use it or sell it on Craigslist and donate the cash to the Red Cross.)

  21. You're right, I hadn't thought of the Producer angle. It's funny, I've been thinking about that word a lot today as it relates to my own career. Maybe I should worry about me and whether I'm a creator or a curator.

  22. Thanks for your response. I didn't know your earlier history, so I responded as a newer member of your audience/fan base. I made my recommendation less on your self-centered wants, but more based on what your self-centered wants seemed to be telling us, which is that you sounded bored with the whole thing either way. I meant that I thought you could make the best contribution by going but also by looking at it from a new angle. I was advocating a – forgive me Tony Blair and Starbucks – “Third Way”. I hope when it comes to Kindle reward time my effort, thoughtfulness, and creative, paradigm-shifting recommendation – even if you disagree – account for something. : )

  23. Very funny post Robert. And as for the subject of create or curate, I believe that curation is a form of creation. Not only that, a person that can effectively curate is far more valuable than just a creator. If you're listening to a speech and you're just writing a summary, you're just providing news and there are tons of people that can regurgitate what someone else says.

    A curator can put things in context. Someone like yourself who has years of industry experience can hear what Jobs says about the tablet and then put it in context with the history of other tablet computers, relate it to the Kindle and other e-reader releases, and know what to search for as people are chatting about it in real time.

    For example, with the release of the Google Nexus One Phone, the real story was the phone store that Google was creating. Sure the phone was cool, but it wasn't game changing. Conversely, Google's online phone store is an industry disruptor. In this case, someone who knows the history of the mobile industry can see where the real story lies and let it bubble to the top with editorial curation.

    I truly believe that curated real-time content will be both a compatible and competitive media channel to TV, radio, print, and online. I've written about it extensively in my analyst report, “Real-Time Search and Discovery of the Social Web.” (20-page PDF, free). http://bit.ly/rt-search

    So for yourself and the other curators what will be the real story behind the iPad/Apple Tablet/whatever? Will it just be a story about the device (probably not)? Or will it be a story about how this device will change how we consume media, do business, and interract? (possibly)

  24. Here's my thought process (if at all I were in your position)…

    If you take your argument a step further, the fundamental issue underlying this debate is “value creation for whom?”

    By going to the event, you will probably create more value for yourself – meet up with a few tech colleagues, get the first hand feel, chance to hear SJ again, blah blah. Will it help the thousands of folks looking up to you – probably not. You probably will not be able to add much to what Engadgets or the CNNs will have.

    If, on the other hand, you decide to go the other way, you can really add value to your thousands of followers who are looking for quality inputs while the event is hot. Admittedly, you could go to the event and then come back and choose to do the second thing, but will it have the same influence. People would already have heard about those things and many other sites will have multiple posts by the time you are up with it.

    So, for the thousands of folks looking up to you to help them decipher the implications of the Apple's latest gizmo – stay back!!

    p.s. would really love to have the Kindle. As a student, this would an ideal thing for me – so please please!!

  25. nothing can beat the comfort of sitting in front of your imac or macbook (pro, for me please), watching the world go by. Comfortably. In your pajamas. Stay in, stay tuned (ituned?).

  26. Looking at this as a journalist, what you're really asking is, should I cover this as a reporter or as an editor? As a reporter – the “create” option, you'd be there getting the first-hand information you need to put together a story. Pretty standard stuff, and probably no different from what umpteen other tech writers who are there will be doing. So why not be the editor instead: run the desk and curate all of those first-hand reports, mix them with the best commentary from other tech industry big thinkers who'll likely be weighing in on this, apply a healthy dose of community reaction, add your own top-level insights and post it all to that FriendFeed page someone else suggested. You'll have created a news product unlike anything else that's out there, something that's unique to you and therefore more valuable to readers (and sponsors).

  27. My original comment was tongue in cheek…wasn't expecting it to be transferable, but can't bear to think that there will be an empty seat in the house.

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