The conversations got personal at the WeMedia Conference in New York this week, where the focus was on the individual nature of digital media. The founders of well known services Meetup.com and Craigslist shared their experiences of how they got started and grew their user base. Another theme was the growing role of curation to handle the massive volume of content created by individuals. PRNewser was in attendance and compiled these key takeaways.
Using digital technology to connect in person: For Meetup founder Scott Heiferman, “The most exciting thing in the future will be people using their mobile phones to get together and using the internet to get off the internet.” Heifernan founded Meetup after 9/11 by talking more to his neighbors and arrived at the idea of letting people turn to each other to organize. He said Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Glenn Beck have all encouraged their audiences to “meet up.” The phenomenon has grown rapidly, and according to Meetup, they now have 7.2 million members with 250,000 monthly meetups in 45,000 cities.
Curating applied to non-profits: It’s important to “differentiate the quality of non-profits,” according to Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist who recently launched CraigConnects to focus on charity organizations. His new site provides a curated list of effective and interesting non-profits in selected areas such as journalism integrity, open government and veterans issues to help raise their awareness. He started Craigslist in 1995 as a mailing list of events that was sent to people he knew. He still works at Craigslist, though not in a management role. Craigslist now has over 100 million users.
From search to curation: “Putting humans back into the mix in a powerful way” is key, according to Steve Rosenbaum, founder of Magnify Media and author of Curation Nation. He sees a shift away from less relevant online searches to focusing only on information that matters. Steve Rubel, SVP of insights at Edelman Digital, agreed about curation’s growing role, and said now we’re in, “A validation era where quality will rise to the top for those who can curate. This will lead to a layer of credible experts to filter information.” He also predicted that the new Google +1 function will improve search results.
Do you agree or disagree? As always, let us know in the comments.