Elad Gil has an excellent post which maps out the evolution of social media from long-form (blogging) to push-button (short form tweeting, retweeting and news feeds) through to structured curation (interest sets or boards).
As you may know I’ve been a big fan if curation for a number of years (see the 2009 Seggr Report) and the rise of curation sites such as Pinterest, Snip.It and Fab.com are validation that this is a growing area.
I particularly agree with David King’s point (as highlighted by Elad) that structured curation is not only creating a major point of differentiation for Pinterest et al, but is also blocking the big short formers like Facebook from swallowing their curations.
Elad titles his post How Pinterest Will Transform the Web in 2012: Social Content Curation As The Next Big Thing and he may well be right. But I’d like to posit that the really, really interesting area is one step beyond social curation. Social media for social’s sake is fast becoming passé. Social media needs to find a purpose and do so fast. So here is my prediction: goal-oriented curation is the killer app for social media.
In some respects Pinterest is a precursor to goal-oriented curation, but I’d argue that is does not go far enough. Just over the horizon sites like StyleSays are pointing the way.
StyleSays sees itself as “Pinterest for fashion and beauty products”. A user gets to save items into wish lists from any online store and then share those with friends who they trust and ultimately influence, in much the same way they would do when out shopping together in the bricks and mortar retail environment.
But let’s go one step further. I believe a really interesting application of goal-oriented curation awaits within the health and wellness arena. I can see how a well crafted site could both curate and influence positive behavioural change. A “Pinterest for health and wellness” may just be the next big thing!