A Culture of Capture

On Wednesday, I had occasion to commiserate with peer and friend, Tom King (@mobilemind) for the Masie Consortium (@emasie) Semi-Annual Meeting. Masie’s events are good for the information shared, but I always get more out of the conversations those meetings inspire. Masie facilitated a brief conversation about user-generated content later in the afternoon (after laptop batteries had already failed), and he threw out a line about building “a culture of capture.” Maybe this is something he’s been stewing on for a while — maybe it was completely improvised; either way, a flash of lightening went right through my head, and it went something like this:

To move an organizational mindset from information lockdown (“need to know”) to collaboration (“need to share”), you can probably start by evangelizing a culture of capture.

Basically, if you can “capture” information — be it a screen-capture, a screenshot, an audio capture, an mp3, a text clip, a link, a tweet, etc — you have effectively captured something that can be described (keywords, folksonomy) and then shared. It’s not a tech thing — there’s really little to nothing needed in terms of software or hardware acquisition to do this. This is quite simply boiled down to a behavior: capturing information. Sharing information can be nebulous — I think a lot of people probably look at the “need to share” idea as a great philosophy, but when push comes to shove they don’t have an idea of how to actually do “sharing.”

Perhaps the abstract of “sharing” merely needs something concrete to get it started: “capture.” Brooks Andrus (@babarakus) responded to my original tweet with the following chain, which very clearly applies the notion of “capture” in a variety of ways:


Again, I don’t know if this is an intentional contribution into our shared lexicon, but I think Masie really nails it with this quip.