Have you spent any time with Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest or Facebook lately?
Of course you have.
Have you noticed how consumers interact with content on those sites? It’s not presented as pages, but as streams.
Web visionary Anil Dash recently suggested your best move is to stop publishing web pages, moving instead to streams:
“Most users on the web spend most of their time in apps. The most popular of those apps, like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Tumblr and others, are primarily focused on a single, simple stream that offers a river of news which users can easily scroll through, skim over, and click on to read in more depth.”
Our old friend Steve Rubel has been touting streams for a long time (though, the approach he took when he moved there — i.e., nuking all of his existing content in favor of the new stream — still makes no sense. For instance, I’d link to his arguments in favor of streams, but I can’t. As I pointed out at the time, he eliminated my ability to do that when he eliminated all his old content).
So, is Anil right? Is Steve right? Or is the answer somewhere in the middle?
As you might imagine, I’m going with Option C. Anil is right. Streams are coming and in a big way. And Steve was very much on the bleeding edge with his decision to commit to streams a few years ago. Today, it’s not so bleeding edge.
But, don’t delete all your old pages! The old phrase about babies and bathwater applies here. Many of you are already moving to streams, whether you meant to or not. Most of the content tools so popular today, whether WordPress or Tumblr or MovableType, present your content in streams. As do Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest, if you’re interacting with customers there (and you should be).
But, your “digital lifetime,” currently captured in page form needs to continue to exist. Many of your customers depend on that information still — and likely will for some time. Links and “likes” from all across the web reference that information. Customers continue to rely on it every day. Look at the most popular content on your website and, chances are, it’s presented in page format.
So, yes, streams certainly look like the way we’ll interact with brand content in the near-to-mid term. Just don’t throw away your past when looking towards the future.
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