The Secret, Selfish Side Of Social-Curation Sites

By Brian Andreas, Fast Company

Here’s my beef with social platforms today: I don’t think they’re very social at all.

As much as Google+, Facebook, and Pinterest promise a way to connect, they’ve also promoted a disconnect–sharing on different platforms, proving a fragmented sense of keeping tabs on any social network. We can track our connections’ job promotions on LinkedIn, photos from their new office on Facebook, and hear their celebratory music on Spotify–but what about how these all link together? And what about the platforms themselves? Unfortunately, competition currently drives their existence.

Specifically, these days every startup, brand, journalist, etc. has set out to associate themselves with the craze that is “social curation”: What is this Pinterest? Why is it so popular? What industry trend can I tie this to and how can my brand capitalize on it? We’re all so quick to polarize ourselves because we don’t truly understand it. We don’t know why it’s so addicting and that scares us. We don’t know how it got to 10 million users so quickly. Instead, we analyze and we obsess–but no, we still don’t understand it. That might be because we’re not diagnosing it correctly. No one is really looking at the bigger, underlying picture–the fact that social curation isn’t really social at all.

It’s not social, it’s selfish.

Social curation companies like Pinterest, Storify, and Foodspotting are essentially creating hubs for crowdsourcing interests like wedding ideas, hipsterized photos, and tweets that appear social on the surface. At the core, though, social curation is incredibly self-centered. Pins of things that I want, pictures of food I ate, tweets about stories I read. There’s no sense of community–no we, ours, or us involved. People only post and repin the things with the hope that someone might like it, Tweet it, share it, but essentially we do it in a silo to please ourselves–there is no collaboration integrated into these platforms, yet. Today’s social platforms are innately self-centered because that is how they have been conditioned to be over time and more often than not people are just blindly pushing out content, not actually sharing what we like, bought, saw, need, want with others. We collaborate and work together in the office–so why not with our buddies at Sunday Brunch, compiling videos, photos, tweets, and more from last night’s concert?

Our so called “social” worlds have become flat and one-dimensional, just like the static content we curate on a daily basis. Where’s the collaboration? Wedding photographers cull together separate videos of the bride and groom, so why can’t we? Is it even possible to have an internet ecosystem that is brought on by a collaborative effort–a group of people at a bar or classroom or concert?

Continue reading the rest of the story on Fast Company