During my recent Write Across Media blogging hiatus (I've been busy travelling and blogging at Bus Lovers), I've been pondering a paradox – why is that I am so continually annoyed by the streams of emails that clog up my inbox after I sign up to a new website but I don't take the time to either unsubscribe or update my settings so they clog up my inbox less often?
The worst offenders are (in the following order):
- ScoopIt – yes, I know the idea is to curate content everyday, but…
- Ello – sharing just got easier (yes, if only I'd log back in…)
- Twitter – what's popular in my network (I guess it's Twitter for the time poor)
- Issuu – the latest from publishers and stacks you follow (except I'm not following anyone?)
- An online-only bank – yes, I've opened an account and they don't appear to be happy with the fact I haven't made any deposits yet.
And then I received yet another email from ScoopIt that explained everything. One simple headline made me sit up and take notice. I kept the email. I am writing about it now.
The headline was "Curate or die in 2015".
The main thesis of the article is that "professionals and businesses can not only become their own media: they have to". It's not only the English usage to which I object – it's the entire argument. And I'm sure BJ Mendelson, author of "Social Media is Bullshit" would agree. I have yet to read it but even though I earn income from advising professionals and businesses about how to use social media, I am much more interested in reading his book than I am about reading this completely unedifying post.
Case in point (verbatim): "Today, this about every company, big or small and whether you think of your business as a brand. Not just businesses but professionals too have to build their personal brands and show thought leadership through the content they publish. At Scoop.it, we like to summarize that by saying that: You are the content you publish."
Excuse me? I am an active online creator but I am not the content I publish. Nor, fortunately, am I just the content I consume (sorry, make that "read").
Fortunately, I also spend lots of time offline, reading fabulous old fashioned books and magazines that provide a context for all this digital media hype. The theme for the fifth edition of New Philosopher (a wonderful mag well worth reading by the way) is "I am the chosen one" and it reminds us to remember Narcissus. One short article looks at the rise of personal branding (Me Inc.) and argues that the creation of the incorporated self is concerning when many personality disorders involve a conflict between a person's two (or more) selves. "Since Me Inc is a marketing construct, a false self, where then is the true self?" New Philosopher poses. "Losing ourselves to technology" by Antonia Case explores what happens when our memory becomes so sorely impaired by information overload that we can't remember a thing.
The short post then waffles along to its conclusion – "we have to publish more and we have to publish better".
The only good thing about the post, written by Guillaume Decugis (co-founder and CEO of ScoopIt), is that it lead me to the thought-provoking post by Mark Schaefer titled "Content Shock: why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy". It's worth a read.
Curation tools like ScoopIt can be very useful, but my life (or livelihood) doesn't depend upon them.
Will curation become one of the key digital trends in 2015? Perhaps.
However, I think there are several other emerging trends that are far more likely to have an impact on both professionals and businesses. These include:
- The emerging "collaborative economy" (also known as the "sharing economy") – see a useful infographic about the sharing economy here and check out the news that Trade Me has just invested in peer-to-peer online lending startup Harmoney
- Channel management – online tools to help people manage their online presence across numerous websites and platforms (particularly in industries like tourism and hospitality)
- Real time inventory so that those making online bookings and/or online purchases can complete their transactions quickly and easily (rather than submitting what is effectively only an "order")
- Personalisation – so that websites remember your favourites and tailor your online experience accordingly (of course, this one has been on the list of emerging trends for several years – whether or not it becomes mainstream in 2015 has yet to be seen).