Social Content Curation – The Next Big Thing?

chocolatesIn a new blog post, How Pinterest Will Transform the Web in 2012: Social Content Curation As The Next Big Thing, serial tech entrepreneur Elad Gil brings into focus one of the key trends now roiling the Web – the value added by people assessing the relevance of content.
Gil describes how, over the last decade, the trend in social media has been “from long form content, which has high friction of participation (both on the production and consumption side) to ever lower requirements placed on a user to participate in a conversation.” As Pinterest has shown with their one-click Pin It and Repin buttons, people are a lot more likely to aggregate and share stuff if you make it really easy for them.
Equally important, Pinterest doesn’t treat all this data as a stream, but rather as structured collections, which other users can easily view, contribute to, and share with yet others. Socially curated content is also migrating to news and information sites (snip.it, quora.com), e-commerce (thefancy.com, piccing.com, shoply.com) and narrative communities (cowbird.com, storify.com).
From my perspective, the enabling technology here is the ease of sharing with others – not just the people you know on Facebook or Twitter, but others who happen to care about the same things you do, whether that’s woodworking, cooking, or planetary science.
But moving forward, there emerges an adjacent possibility that holds even greater potential, as social curating collides with another of 2012’s major trends – big data:
– Facebook lets me learn from the people I already know;
– Pinterest lets me learn from people who like the same things I do;
– Emergent tools will know enough about users’ likes and interests to automatically curate content, combining explicit gestures (such as “pinning” or “repinning” content) with massive data sets, enabling laser-like precision in identifying and recommending relevant new content.