While Content Lay in Shock, Did Bookmarks Die?

Did Blogs/ Brands Turn Bookmarks into Content & Kill Consumer Curiosity?

I’m sure you’ve heard the term content shock, coined by Mark Schaefer’s famous post from Jan 2014.

The term went viral with 70+ articles responding to the idea of content shock. I thought it was beautifully timed, eloquently named and awesomely executed.

Mark argued brands/bloggers/publishers are hitting the limits of impactful content. That’s what I found ingenious about his post – as it really disproved his point. He created the perfect storm, which was no mean feat. He tapped into the zeitgeist.

Content Shock takes a content producer-centric slant, which I didn’t think about at the time. This week I found myself thinking about the consumer reaction to content shock.

In one word – indifference.

Michele Price and I were talking on her podcast about how we find and create value both alone and together, when she dropped a bomb into the conversation.

Michele said something like “I don’t bookmark anymore. I find it when I need it” #FIWINI

Is FIWINI a new acronym of our times?

Does this signify our increased trust in Google?

I’d recently explored how bookmarking has changed, but I’d not considered dead.

The born digital generation asks Google for everything.

They find good enough answers, so don’t need to bookmark. They will find another good enough answer if they search again later. They are attached to the process, not the content producer.

After the podcast I found myself wanting to drill into the why.

It used to be be if you found something good that you’d better bookmark it, in case you can’t find it again, but was this a coping mechanism for a fast forming and fast changing web?

Brands create content to connect them to popular issues and to share helpful insight.  Consumers don’t see the difference between paid, owned, earned and shared content. In the minds of  brands  they are stepping up to be a trusted advisor. The best brands are becoming media companies. I’m not sure consumers see it the same way – in many cases they just see answers. They see the utility of searching.

Bookmarks were a necessity in an early days of what the sparse web. The web has evolved in a series of stages as the web filled up with more content and more people.

– Early Web (the first websites for place, people, products, brands, venues , news, porn etc)
– What’s the web (early blogging as people explored and connected)
– Social Web (the arrival and connection of people via social networks)
– Videos & Photos (watch and see, don’t read)
– Meta/Curated Content (Questions, Answers, Tips, Tricks, How to, Lists)

It’s the last stage that’s interesting. Blogs, brands and publishers have created such an extensive layer of content that the search experience has changed for the consumer.

Google is ever shuffling and reranking this content, which is itself ever changing.

The consumer has no brand loyalty to specific content. They find answers and leave satisfied.

I think that idea is profound and something Michele’s statement captured really well.

Did Content Kill Bookmarks?

This utility-centric content has potentially inverted the bookmarking process and killed the need traditional bookmarks.

  • Brand and blogs have effectively embedded bookmarks in their content
  • Brands and blogs have bookmarked the internet so consumers don’t have to
  • Brands and blogs have published so much content that the need for bookmarking died

Has the art of bookmarking has died or got renamed or repurposed as curation? Did bookmarking became blogging. Did bookmarks become shared embeddable content?


Image Credit instantvantagec via Flickr / Creative Commons

NIck Kellet (130 Posts)

Nick’s ventures range from a visual segmentation tool sold to SAP, to an award winning board game. Today, Nick is co-founder of Listly, raising the profile of lists to be on par with Slideshare & YouTube.