2012 TRENDS: Content curation in the hands of the user

(Read introduction: Coming up next, review of the 2012 media trends.)

The former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt stunned everyone back in 2010 when he declared that we were creating more digital content every two days than all aggregated content created since the dawn of mankind.

The overload of content is a typical characteristic of the digital space but the phenomenon of proliferation seems to be accelerating each year, and even more in the last year with the domination of online video and social networks in the media space and the increased penetration of smartphones and tablets.

In such a context, no one would question the importance of search and recommendation engines, aggregation sites and feed syndication tools. But what has been a creeping trend since the surge of social web is now an inescapable fact: social media have made all of us ‘content mavens’ and we now turn to our circles first when wondering what to do, what to buy and what to watch next. Moreover, the growing ability of social networks and especially Facebook to connect to third party platforms (websites, streaming services, newspapers, etc) allows users to centralize their sharing of content. This is truly creating an ecosystem in which we can both become a curator and rely on our social graph to discover new content and seek for recommendations for films, TV programs, products to buy, articles to read, etc.

In what Steve Rubel calls the Validation Era; the “Internet users are beginning to “find the signal in the noise” and hold on to only those pieces of information and people that are most important to them online”. Rubel’s model relies on 4 circles of influencers: traditional media, tradigital media, owned content and social networks. Well, we predict that the balance of influence in the content-curation space will be shifting more and more to the benefit of the individual users and their social graphs.

For the Television Industry, this “social curation” trend has been taking up speed since 2010.   “Social TV”  will continue to surge through Twitter, connected TV and the  growing adoption of social media apps that allow users to “check-in” in a TV program, follow their favorite programs or comment in real-time (e.g.Get glue, Miso, Into_Now  being the most popular ones).   Seth Shapiro pointed out very clearly in November 2011, when he was invited as a speaker to 2011’s Edition of Merging Media in Vancouver:  “Some people start gathering around  TV programs to better interact on social media: the conversation (on Twitter and Facebook) about a given show has become more entertaining than the show itself.”  For broadcasters, publishers and brand owners, he added this advice : “If you’re not doing it social, you’re not doing it right” .

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