On Monday, I posted some thoughts inspired by Brett Sandusky’s writing on user (reader) experience in a digital realm. His work is part of the second section of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto, which Hugh McGuire and I are editing for O’Reilly Media.
Later that day, TechCrunch posted a guest column by Nir Eyal, who claims that “personalized e-commerce is already here; you just don’t recognize it.” Specifically, Eyal points to Pinterest as a leading example of the “curated web”.
Here’s what hooked me:
“While the tech world waits patiently, expecting the solution to e-commerce personalization to look like Amazon ported to other online retailers, “curated web” companies like Pinterest are change the game by changing the interface.”
(The added emphasis there is mine.)
Eyal claims that Pinterest is “becoming the web’s personalized mail-order catalog” by effectively outsourcing decisions about the collection of data to the user. Much as we personalize our smart phones with unique collections of apps, each Pinterest user creates a unique interface that is the collective result of a series of decisions that Eyal describe as “effortless, simple, social and fun”.
This isn’t how we currently think about reading. As content migrates to new digital platforms, however, we need to figure out how we compete for time and attention in environments that are immersive, but not in the ways that physical books have been.