Become a Relevant Filter


The Discovery may have had its last launch with NASA on February 24 of this year. The tech world is just getting started with its own full launch – a love affair complete with predictions, trends, and already a roster of tools and services.

Discovery is the new search

Actually better. Why? Because it capitalizes on two mechanisms that have long been the domain of strictly physical, if interrelated, experiences:

  • word of mouth
  • commercial transactions

It makes sense. People are spending more time in social networks – and getting stuff done there, too. Which means that many of the activities that used to happen in mall stores, while on the phone with friends possibly, or through just solitary search, are now happening as a social experience.

Group buying sites that encourage people to sign up for daily deals, like Groupon and Living Social, have accelerated that trend. The power of collective buying at the service of the individual. Who doesn't love a good bargain?

You know what's even better than getting one? Hunting for one.

There's a crop of other, some quite specialized, sites that plan to capitalize on the strong signals and filters currently offered in social networks to help people talk about the items they find, either ask their friends or even perfect strangers how they look with a new outfit, what they should buy, even create public visual displays or carts to share.

And if you're a guy and don't do the bargain hunting with friends, there are services that will deliver right to your doorstep.

Will discovery also be the new black?

As in putting merchants in the black by helping them manage just in time inventories better, or attract people to existing inventory, as we talked about with a couple of months back.

In other words, rewarding them to encourage the right kind of digital behavior – just like foot traffic in stores.

The new rules of content

This is where you come in to work on how information is displayed, aggregated, filtered, and then analyzed so that it's more digestible — and helps people share it with their friends.

In this new digital world where physical goods live in virtual stores, where search and discovery coexist in the hands of individuals and groups, relevance is even more a must for your content to work. The conversation as market works well here – becoming a relevant filter is the key to commerce.

In my recent update on filters, I talked about how the introduction of Google+ has renewed interest in:

  • grouping people
  • filtering content

For relevance to be part of the conversation, both are predicted upon three considerations:

(1.) Ethics in data collection — full disclosure is the new transparency

(2.) Open communication — as business is a process, so two-way communication or conversation is the lubricant that fosters ownership, and commerce

(3.) Clear language — say what you mean, illustrate with stories, eliminate jargon, adopt the words of your community

There's a lot here, so we will be unpacking some of this in future posts. I've been talking about trends in business and technology for several years now. It's now time to bring them all together. This is what I'm thinking about and working on now.

While in the past I used Digg, Stumble Upon, and Delicious for content discovery, then Twitter, which I still use heavily, I'm currently using mainly Percolate, Eqentia (see my review here, this is a really good service), and Flipboard on iPad.

How about you? Is anyone using LinkedIn? How is that working out?


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0 responses to “Become a Relevant Filter”

  1. Here’s where the fallacy of the one-note social graph is exposed. In most circumstances, I care more about someone’s credibility or similarity to me than their proximity to me socially. This is especially true when filtering content. Netflix learned this when they tweaked their algorithm to rely more on social signals than interest signals. It failed, and they reverted. Great post, thanks.

  2. I think you may find that it is a combination of both. This is what it looks like: The people who know you best and know what you like, as well as know a domain really well. I agree, in the absence of tips from the people you look up to and who know what you specifically like, the people who “look like you” would be a substitute.

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