The Merits of User-Created Content and the ‘Discovery’ of Pinterest

Rodney emphasizes user-created content at SIPA Munich

More than 100 attendees from 13 countries and 24 companies have gathered yesterday through tomorrow for the SIPA Munich Conference. You can follow some of the proceedings on Twitter at #sipamuc. Craig Rodney, managing director, Cerebra Communications, South Africa, delivered a talk earlier today about mobile and social publishing.

Voted one of the 40 most influential South Africans under the age of 40, Rodney is responsible for social media for clients such as Vodacom, Samsung, Toyota, KFC and PWC. Our Twitter correspondent Bob Coleman of Coleman Publishing gave us a glimpse into Rodney’s talk. “Participating beats consumption,” he tweeted. “People want to engage with content…Publishers have a lot of power…they filter what information people get. We need editors and producers to help us decide [how] to filter information…We need to try harder (e.g. Avis) to get our content out.”

From there it looks like Rodney went into the sheer numbers of social media: 50% of the connected world will be on Facebook by August; there are now 200 million tweets a day; Youtube reports 14 video views per month for every person on the planet, with millions of videos uploaded every day. Rodney then went into some of the changes taking place. “Pinterest and Fancy are moving [us] from search to discovery. (I don’t know what I want, but I ‘discover.’) People don’t know what they want, so surprise them.” Rodney recommends Instagram, a photo-sharing app.

That’s an interesting thought pattern. Throughout time, discovery has been a key positive element in our lives. So the idea that we are now going online for discovery makes sense. I’m not sure what I’m searching for but I’ll know when I see it. That’s kind of the idea now when you go on Facebook. My friend’s new favorite book? Pass. Another friend’s kid’s 17th birthday party? Pass. A new recipe from a Facebook group I’m in? Maybe. A friend winning a skiing medal in the Paralympic Games? That’s what I would like to “discover” today.

Rodney then went on to say that “people are getting more of a lack of tolerance with ad bombardment.. (good) companies are reacting by building communities.” He advised checking out Starbucks on Facebook where there are 28 million “likes” but more importantly 500,000 talking about this now. “Attention matters most,” he said. What he seems to like about online communities—and Facebook, of course—is that people are creating the content. “People don’t want to consume; they want to create content…Create opportunities for your community to create content for you.” Rodney said to check out the Johnny Cash Project, “a unique communal work, a living portrait of the man in black.” The users create all the content.

He then went into the coming emergence of Africa to the global economy–90% of all phones in Africa are mobile. 96% of mobile is prepaid, compared to 52% in Europe. Soap operas are being delivered to your phone in Africa. “You cannot ‘tackle’ Africa; you must go one country at a time,” he said. Six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies are in Africa. Finally, Rodney said, “If you can predict what the next billion people will do online, that will make you rich.” That may be true for the next few thousand as well.

We will have much more to report in the coming weeks from SIPA Munich. I know that when I went to a world newspaper conference in Helsinki a few years ago, I saw early signs of many of the coming trends here—also a population where the children spoke multiple languages and excelled in the sciences. So I think that some of the information that will come out of this Conference will be extremely worthwhile for U.S. publishers.Remember, follow it on Twitter at #sipamuc.

Upcoming SIPA events for
European members:

April 17, 2012
Advanced Copywriting Techniques for
Profitable Email Publishing & Marketing

hosted by Nick Laight and Gareth Rees –

two of the most successful copywriters
and email marketers in the UK

May 16, 2012
Web Analytics
May 20-22

SIPA 2012:
The 36th Annual International Conference

An international audience is
strongly anticipated and welcomed!
It’s a perfect time of year in Washington, D.C.
Register now for early-bird rates!.

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