It is the Year of the Dragon on the Chinese Calendar, but in the digital world it is the Year of Content.
You thought it was the year of “SoLoMo”? Not hardly. The catchphrase for Social-Local-Mobile is shorthand for “the last three years.” Let’s break it down to its parts: Social? So 2009. Local? So 2010. Mobile? So 2011. The convergence of the three is an ongoing story.
But 2012 is finally the year that the English majors and journalists-gone-digital start getting our due. Need a content strategy? Got it covered. Need your Website content edited? No problem? Need someone to post to your Facebook wall? Piece of cake.
If you’re not convinced that 2012 is the Year of Content, I would point to Pinterest as Exhibit 1. It’s all about content, including the ever-growing definition of “content” itself. Pinterest is visually pleasing; it has a great user interface; and it’s an easy-as-pie way to share content. Home run.
It is the most rapidly growing social platform recently and is quickly moving past Google+, Twitter, and threatening to become the “next big thing” which we’ve all been waiting to arrive. At this rate, everyone will surely be copying it soon.
Stepping back from the superficial appeal of Pinterest reveals what it’s about. Boards are grouped topics and pins are threads of conversations. The sharing on one’s board that becomes sharing by another user creates an instant connection that fosters community. It is content in context between like-minded people.
I am hardly an expert user on Pinterest, but can see the value of it from a mile away. Its adoption among the sweet spot of Facebook’s demographic and beyond (particularly with women) is significant. Its elevation of bookmarks and images to their own platform redefines a niche that was never successfully mastered by geeky services such as Digg.
The success of Pinterest out of the gate in 2012 is happening against a backdrop in the digital world where brands and marketers are [finally] understanding the time-worn phrase, “Content is king.” That’s right, if you mean: quality content, that people want, as reflected by users, and validated by the sharing of other users – a decentralized model.
It is the opposite of publishing – pushing out a message and not caring about the response – and is visual way of crowd-sourcing. There are already roles for brands on Pinterest, but they must be careful (on yet another platform) to not just promote. It’s about sincerity.
It is not inconsequential that the popularity of Pinterest, where the creator is in charge, is happening during a time where there is a rebellion against centralized power. No, I’m not speaking of the Occupy movement – but that monarchy known as Facebook. Pin away!