Technology Is About Discovery

I've been hearing that word a lot lately, "discovery," as it relates to new technologies and how digital technology adds to our daily lives. We've been sharing online now for sometime, and we've talked a lot about engagement and creating opportunities for conversation. But "discovery" really is at the heart of all of this, we just haven't talked about it that way. Until now. And companies are taking that idea of "discovery" to new levels by creating features and tools that explicitly embrace discovery.LocationLocation sharing is not going away, but it is evolving from the actual "check-in." Rather than just announcing where we are, we want apps to help us discover new places, new things about places we already know and people we might want to know about us. One of the great quotes I heard at SXSW about location was:

"'Place' is a layer cake of qualities about that place."

It is so true and that is just from a user standpoint. And the apps are starting to deliver that to us; as a recent article mentioned, Foursquare is evolving with its "Explore" and "Radar" features, and at SXSW we heard a lot about several new "ambient location" apps that run in the background of our phones to notify us when something or someone interesting is near.From a marketer standpoint this is awesome because we can program the delivery of specific information about our businesses, track how locations are being used and learn more about those that are visiting so we can ultimately improve services and communications.Shopping, Designing, CollectingPinterest is quickly becoming a top traffic driver to retail sites worldwide as people are discovering products they never knew existing and seeking out a way to find and buy them online. This quote from a recent article sums up the "discovery" aspect of Pinterest nicely :

"Essentially, Pinterest excels at something that's very hard to do on the web -- help people discover new things. If you can name what you want, after all, Amazon and Google are pretty good tools for helping you find it. But what if you don't know what you want? Social-networking sites have helped businesses influence people, but they are imperfect. People use Facebook and Twitter to talk to each other, not necessarily to discuss things they might want to buy. In contrast, Pinterest users are more often in a shopping mindset when they are using the service. If you're keeping a pinboard called 'Spring handbags I'm considering,' there's a good chance you'll click through and make a purchase."

Again, from a marketing standpoint, this is awesome: "As more people spend more time pinning [they are] revealing to marketers the kinds of hobbies and objects they covet..."How do we embrace and apply this trend in digital strategy and communications?We must think beyond how and what to share and add a layer to our filter that asks: what can we help people discover through our communications?