In 1997 when I joined Seth Godin at Yoyodyne, people were calling the internet new media. But there was nothing really new. It was simply traditional media in a new wrapper -- noting new at all. We are now entering the era of "new media." Media is now aggregated, not a place, a.k.a. the website destination is dead. People choose their media vs. being beholden to media schedules, formats or those who we "should" be listening to. Publishers are people, not oracles, and print is most certainly unsustainable, and therefore as good as dead. User-generated content, the democratization of content, publishing and the ability to share consume and publish anytime, anywhere is setting the stage for each and every one of us to be the center of our own media channel.
Pinterest, which now drives more click-throughs than Twitter, is fast approaching Facebook. Pinterest buyers spend more money, more often, and on more items than any of the other top five social media sites, despite having a fraction of their user base. What's driving this phenomenon? A combination of participation and inspiration. Pinterest is the canary in the coal-mine for two huge converging trends, shifting media consumption and changing shopping habits.
The key is harnessing the power of social influence in a compelling way that connects authentic story-telling with brand and product interaction. This is a radical departure from the current media and eCommerce environment as consumers seek information when and where they want it vs. proceeding along a predictable purchase path. Mobile is accelerating this behavior leaving many retailers, brands and publishers perplexed about how to capitalize.
It is time for publishers to realize that in order to survive for the long-term they have to learn to embrace the crowd. Build relationships with their audience, empower them and their employees to build their own brands... then leverage this to scale content production and to reach consumers on their own terms.
Welcome to the age of influence, where anyone can build an audience, advocate brands, build relationships, effect change and make a difference.