April 12th, 2012 by Tim Greenhalgh
Nothing happens without a cause. So we can be assured that there are many hands at work to raise awareness of content-sharing sites. Facebook buying Instagram is surely a function of this process.
Instagram gains with its excellent immediacy but it does not, to my mind, add value to the new cultural currency of personal life curation, which goes way beyond ‘snap and share’.
Visibly, Google+ TV advertisements are hinting at the way we should be curating and distributing our personal visual digital content. Maybe we are moving away from the instant and towards the greater value of the longer term in social media.
Pinterest is very visible again after a lapse of some months (around 18) and Liberate Media HQ senses the subtle hand of PR at work here. Does it have the base to shift user focus away from broadcast to more complex groups of close family, friends, relatives, acquaintances, business connections and so on?
Google+ is running with this idea. It makes the process of Group development more conscious and at the same time more difficult but clearly is saying that the service can be a living archive of a person’s progress through this short life.
This should be a benefit as the social web moves from explosion to creative implosion, making the social connections more reflective of “real life” and at the same time gaining authority, trust and adding value to the ‘social assets’ – video, image, animation, visualised ideas (for example infographics) and text.
The value of these “assets” grows as a function of the relevance, proximity, trust and belief imbued in them by the groups accessing and sharing them. The closer the groups are in “real life”, the greater the potential value of the “assets” will be.
What appears to be a cultural change online is the recognition by service providers that people wish to have an organic online narrative that differs from their “web shadow” because it is limited and controlled, available only to those groups who have relevance, proximity and are trusted.
What could follow is the ‘birth to death and beyond’ narrative – a personal history in multiple digital forms that describes a life and allows those close to enrich the story when that life is done.
The enrichment could come from sensitive curation and addition but this idea also poses the question about how well we are prepared to curate our own life stories online.