Another 2012 Prediction (You Won’t Like It)

By on October 6th, 2011

Luxuriate in the Fresh Air of a Wholesale Dump! Take in the Aroma of Original Content. Ahhhhh!

Yes, my friends, I’m talking about the murder of “content aggregation.” It’s an early demise, I know, since aggregation just went mainstream about two years ago.. But, if I have anything to say about it, “content aggregation” is going to wither and die in 2012. For somebody who’s done a fair amount of “aggregation” this year, the prediction hurts. But it’s inevitable.

Why? Because we Can’t HANDLE it.

When Chris Brogan began unfriending people left and right in March, he called it getting rid of a mess.

Margie Clayman, too, is wondering if smaller social media might not be better social media.

The real issue, though, isn’t what you call it, or even how you do it. The nugget here is the sense of panic human beings are grappling with under the information tsunami. And “aggregation,” which has the potential for exponential repeat, retweet, rehash, and regurgitate, has got to go.

A Case In Point
I got a brilliant e-newsletter from Brad and Steve at bscopes. I don’t know why I read it– I am way too busy to read most enewsletters — except that it used the phrase “RSS bankruptcy” in the first sentence, and alluded in the second paragraph to feeling a tremendous sense of relief at wholesale dumping of articles collecting dust in the reader.

I had to write to bscopes. “I don’t think I’ve received your email before,” I told them. “I tend to throw stuff out, but this post caught my eye and I read it all the way through. You’re right, information-choke is a HUGE problem and the ‘just throw it away”‘ process doesn’t work. I think part of it starts with a better email client coupled with, perhaps, the growing profession of “virtual assistants” who can filter our inboxes for us.”

But that was just my stab-in-the-dark idea to cope. A better solution lies with Brogan: Just turn it off.

Why Are Human Beings Reacting This Way?
Amid the “anxiety of not knowing” [something, everything, more, enough!], we find ourselves facing the reality that there is no way to know enough. Suddenly, this year, in 2011, as we drowned in an epic information flood, we realized everything we don’t know. Fact is, we’ve never known… it’s just that we didn’t know we didn’t know (if you know what I mean).

There’s more. The more we delve into a topic, the more anxious we become about not knowing.
Well, how about crowd-sourcing, then? Can’t these other people tell us what to eat, think, feel, buy? No, because as soon as we start listening to crowd-sourced comments, we realize all that opinion is worth the paper it’s written on. There’s just too much of it and nobody agrees anyway.

Instead, when we need to know, proactive researching is our best option. Sure, we’ll come across a lot of junk. And, if we think it’s all relevant, we’re a dead duck. So, we’re going to need to use our own judgment.

Fact, is there’s no easy way “to know.” With information, as with everything else in life, less is more. I do believe that in 2012 many many of us will start by simply “turning it off” and then rebuilding: consciously, purposefully, intelligently. The skill of content curation will be invaluable here, but aggregation is likely headed for the landfill.

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4 Responses to “Another 2012 Prediction (You Won’t Like It)”

  1. Donald Says:

    Its a very valid point. As humans, we are bombarded by tens of thousands of pieces of information a day, and 99% of it gets overlooked. Thats why bulk mail has to stick out, otherwise it goes straight to the recycle bin.

    Driving around town, or riding your bike, you will see hundreds of bumper stickers, but only those annoying black and white ones with nasty four letter words stick out. Why? Its psychological, a human brain can only interpret and retain so much information, and our brains retain information by coupling things together; a sound to an image, a smell to a place, or a word “bankruptcy” to a memory of social despair. I purpose you answered that email solely because of the word “bankruptcy”.

    A picture is worth a thousand words, so why write those thousand words, just use a relevant picture. Thats why television replaced newspaper as the primary source of info, pictures and speed of access to information. The Internet replaced TV to a point because information can be access quickly, but more importunely you can target the information that you want, unlike watching the entire news program to get the weather.

  2. Nancy Scott Says:

    You’re spot on, Donald … and your point explains why video is increasingly replacing text. 2011 statistics are difficult to come by, but we do know that, according to a comScore study released in February 2011, 82.5% of the U.S. Internet audience viewed a video online. That sounds like a vast increase over March 2010, when YouTube was serving 1 billion videos per day. Discovery Channel increased video streams by 123% in 2010. And for marketing, videos can’t be beat. Ice.com found that viewers who chose to view video converted at a 400% increase over those who did not. Ice.com also credits video with decreasing returns by 25%. (Internet Retailer, December 2009). Shoppers who view video at Onlineshoes.com convert at a 45% higher rate than other shoppers, and the site has seen a 359% year-over-year increase in video views. Product pages with video have higher conversion rates than product pages without video. (Internet Retailer, February 2010). ETC. For enough stats to impress any CMO, check out “101 Online Video Stats” To Make Your Eyes Glaze Over” by Matthew Bavosa at engage.com.

  3. kit hamilton Says:

    Nancy, Thanks for this post! Totally agree with you and Donald on the power of video – and completely ascribe to the “less is more” message. Also think there’s some interesting trends at work in social media that pose some other challenges.
    It’s at once amusing and frustrating that “content aggregation” on Wikipedia provides direction to “disambiguation” – but, more often than not, things become more ambiguous the more a reader reads on a given subject.
    Part of effective marketing is making sure that business content is clear, consistent and accessible – so that there is less customer reliance on content aggregation. Part is understanding how people get their info – video’s one answer, but there are other trends afoot. Here’s a link to a quick post on the subject –
    http://www.pbinsight.com/blog/details/going-mobile-has-its-challenges-kwim/

  4. Nancy Scott Says:

    KWYM*, Kit. The move to develop cross-channel tools and measure results is definitely big news for marketers right now. IBM’s Coremetrics program, which I wrote about on my blog June 8: http://bit.ly/m57cDG, is all about that, as is the PitneyBowes’ “Customer Communication Management System” you linked to in your post. For marketers, these add up to “more things to know.”

    *Know what you mean, Kit. TFSB (thanks for stopping by :-)