Subtraction - From Philosophy to Action: Part 2

A Trilogy of Thoughts on a Subtractive Communications Strategy.

Echoes and Exclusions- Understanding Our Role in Digital Content Creation and Curation

Every day, in front of our laptops, we find ourselves adrift in an ocean of information, constantly bombarded by waves of content. To navigate and communicate in the digital world, what matters is not just what we create, but also what we curate.

Creation is the act of producing something. If we want to create quality content, like a blog post, a podcast, a video, or a tweet, we must create something original, authentic, and relevant. It must resonate with the people, and deliver a message that taps into their emotions, interests, and needs.

Curation is the art of finding, selecting, and sharing content that others have created. It's the ability to sift through the noise, to find the gems that are relevant, valuable, and timely for us and others.

We are all creators and curators

We are creating and curating content every day. When we are plunging into work, writing emails, lines of code, and engaging in online discussions - each is an act of content creation.

We are curating daily, when we select the articles we read, or podcasts we listen to. When we browse through Reddit, Twitter, medium, and cherry-pick the most interesting bits, each choice is an act of curation, that defines our interests and priorities. The act of curation is an intimate process, revealing our curiosity and our learning direction. Each choice we make, each piece of content we decide to consume, mirrors and forms our understanding of the world.

These moments of choice, are an intricate dance between content creator and curator - the unseen content creators whose articles we read, whose thoughts we consume, and us, curating these snippets of information for our consumption, forming our knowledge and understanding of the word.

The Power of Curation

We are usually not directly in touch with the creators of the content we consume. The content we curate for ourselves has already been curated by others. Historically, the power of curation lay with a select few gatekeepers - editors, TV producers, educators, and store owners. With the internet, this power has been democratized. Anyone with an internet connection can now curate content and reach an audience through various platforms. We entrust certain individuals - thought leaders whose opinions we value - to curate content for us.

Curation carries immense power. The curators - whether they are algorithms shaping our social media feeds, gatekeepers controlling the news we receive, or influencers swaying our purchase decisions - shape our understanding of the world. They decide whose voices are heard and whose content is promoted, influencing trends, narratives, and beliefs. Their choices can uplift some creators while marginalizing others, shaping who gets to share their perspectives.


As we navigate this era of powerful curators and pervasive content curation, we must aim for a diverse and democratic digital landscape. Embracing a subtractive communications strategy becomes essential. By subtracting the sources that perpetuate biases, echo chambers, and exclusion, we open up space for unheard voices to be heard.

This was the 2nd part of a series of texts, exploring the questions of how the philosophy of subtraction can guide a communications strategy, and how we can create and curate content in a subtractive way.

The three texts cover 1) The Philosophy of Subtraction, 2) Content Creation and Curation, and 3) an Approach to Subtractive Communications.

The next text of the series will explore how we can foster a subtractive, and more inclusive and democratic system of content creation and curation.

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