Monday, January 23, 2012

Paint by Pictures

We are all on line non-stop, and with any community, we begin to separate "circles of friends" just as we actively separate our Internet usage by our intent and goals. When I shop, especially for clothing, I expect a rich media category of sites including pictures, reviews, words, editorials, lookbooks, etc. before being pushed to an online store/point of purchase and happily walking away with my overpriced goods. Now, on the other side of the fence, reading articles, scanning Flickr accounts, keeping up on blogs is almost more of a single-faceted, reel-format of content that drifts across one's eyes.

For this inaugural post, I want to talk about an Aesthetic revolution in media, not only in ways that brands are packaged, but an overall movement and heightening of style and content. I'm a daily reader of Hypebeast, a great aggregator of "cool" content that is sharply targeted toward male 18-25 urbanites with that insatiable appetite for music, fashion and design. This morning I read this piece on Pinterest, which I finally took the time to get on and check out, and was sort of amazed at the similarities and differences to Tumblr, which Pinterest seems to be modelled after.

" ...The true black horse of 'Instablogging,' a term used to describe the immediate point-and-shoot nature of allocating content across networks like TUmblr and Instagram, is without a doubt Pinterest. From what seems like out of nowhere, the platform has been written up as a branding tool on Mashable, citing as a secret weapon for Fashion PR and even made it onto the list of the top ten most-trafficked social networks at the end of 2011, beating out sites like Google+ in the process..."

Having used Tumblr for several years and now Pinterest for several hours, I've noticed that the alarming and addictive popularity of both these personal and brand portals is a robust infrastructure coupled with a powerful shift in visual language. Tumblr and Pinterest both crowdsource content from their users and produce unique "layouts" that propose a proletariat user interface with infinite customizations. Amid shots of "food porn," women's fashion and inspirational quotes there is distinct language being adopted on both these image-heavy, share-heavy microblogging interfaces. As with any social network, real returns for businesses and brands can really only be seen when the site has reached a certain capacity.

Make no mistake, the visual culture of the Internet is becoming increasingly deep. For some, it is finding inspiration, storytelling and an overt "cool," for others it is producing the brushes, the canvas, the paper and the paints that make these pieces possible. Pinterest will become an overarching opportunity, especially for lifestyle brands to be able to extend a friendly, but exquisitely gloved hand to the everyday consumer in ways that other social media portals can only dream of. The reason is this aesthetic revolution, a revolution in the way we consume and communicate through media online. It's no longer important to find the best images and inspirations, but more so to tie them in a curatorial package that can be viewed as a whole or split into categories. This is where Pinterest has a leg-up on Tumblr, the ability to collate. The age of Internet curation might have come and gone in the last five years, but only that rather than the method, the venues continually grow and become more robust.

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