With the continuing fragmentation of information on the Web, “curation” is become more and more important — and it’s likely to change the way we view and experience local content online. The emergence of new tools like Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and Chill.com mean that anybody can now curate visual content and build their own local multimedia publications. On Pinterest, for example, cities like Centennial, Colorado can be celebrated through the handiwork of a single individual:
This kinds of curation can be extended to local video as well. Brian Norgard, co-founder of Chill.com, a kind of Pinterest for social video, says: “Video is about entertainment first and foremost and has been for over 100 years. Today the biggest problem in video is discovery. I believe locally produced video — and there are tons of it out there — will start to explode once discovery improves (combined with the ubiquity of mobile video apps like Viddy). This local content will be consumed because the events and news that are captured will be more than just entertaining, it will directly affect the quality of our daily life. At Chill we’re already seeing tons of this type of content come onto the platform.”
Most amateur-produced local videos won’t get very many views when they are presented by themselves. But when taken in aggregate, an extensive video portfolio about a city is a compelling watch for anybody in the area. Here’s a search I did on Chill.com for “Santa Monica, California” — its 537 tagged videos chronicle the city as well as any tourist board.
In addition, I think we’ll soon start seeing more local video upload communities like HoustonsVoice.com that encourage citizens to upload their own videos, and then sort them down to the neighborhood level. These kinds of video communities fill a new publishing niche that complements and extends traditional news.
These kinds of curation services are coming of age right now because people are increasingly using their smartphones to upload pictures and videos on the fly (according to 1000 memories, 10% of all photographs in history were taken in the last 12 months). As user-generated media continues to flourish, its local manifestations (and curated collections of contributed content) will paint a far more diverse and detailed picture of a community than coverage by paid media.
Patrick Kitano is founding Principal of Brand into Media, a strategy group for social brand management solutions, and administrator of the Breaking News Network, a national hyperlocal network devoted to community service. He is the author of Media Transparent, and contributor to Social Media Today, Daily Deal Media, and The Customer Collective. He is reachable via Twitter @pkitano and email firstname.lastname@example.org.