The volume & density of NOISE seem to have been the dominant parts of the discovery process for some time now. We choose what we choose generally based on how often we hear ourselves being told to make that specific choice.
Everything becomes about level of spend and placement when it is all about how much noise you can generate.. And when it is about noise, everything really stops being about choice, but something much closer to just impulse. But what would happen if we started valuing certain voices over others? What would happen, if we committed ourselves to choices, and worked to reduce our impulses?
There once was a time when film audiences listened to critics, where what someone said about your film, or any film, actually mattered. It would be hard to imagine a scene in a modern movie about a filmmaker (if such a film could actually get made) when every character waited for the reviews to hit -- yet don't we all remember that scene quite well from past films about filmmaking or any tale about any creative act. It used to be that other than the audience's applause, the critic's review mattered most.
Word of mouth has always been something to cultivate, but the science behind it has always been lacking. What is the strategy that one can employ to heighten desire among sympathetic ears? When does interest spread for the core group and then spread like a virus in ever-expanding circles? If we value the opinions of the people closest to us, what can we build, what do we need, to help share their opinions so that word of mouth can truly bloom?
Do the new group of social network recommendation tools that have been rolling out over the past year+ help build word of mouth or do they just contribute to the volume of all the static? Back in the days when everyone read the same newspaper -- and thus heard the same voice -- were we better off, or were we really in a hell, albeit in an ignorant one, because we were stuck with stuff that had to appeal to the widest audience?
GetGlue is a social reccomendation assistant app. TechCrunch sums it up well (of course):
GetGlue, a social browsing assistant that shows ratings and recommendations of movies, books, restaurants, stocks, and more on the web, is furthering its mobile strategy today with the launch of an Android app and mobile website.
Similar to the recently launched iPhone app, the free Android app and new mobile site allows users can to check-in to their favorite shows, music, movies and books, and see what their friends are enjoying in real-time. With each check-in, users earn points and stickers from GetGlue and other major brands. The app also allows users to rate their favorite shows, movies, music and books and receive personalized suggestions.
You can also share check-ins with your Twitter and Facebook friends, rate lists of popular shows, movies, music and books, receive weekly new releases and customized recommendations, and access existing reviews, clips and ratings for 20 million movies, books and albums.
Hmmm.... is this what we need to make discovery a more integral part of the process? Are we utilizing these tools? Should we? And if not, why aren't we?
Jinni.com is another such tool that describes itself with the promise to "find movies, TV shows matching your taste" and to "allow you to watch what you wish for", but as Brian Newman remarked:
I don't find it remotely useful. I don't think many people sit down, think what will I watch tonight? Hmmm I want a "fish out of water" story, I'll click on that on Jinni and then click on Wall-E....which is what it just recommended to me when I looked at it again.
So where are we left? It's great that the programmers are working on this, but what is the solution? What do we need so that people can find better matches for what they are looking for?