Thursday, January 12, 2012

Question to Google: If Wonder is Gone, What's Left to Discover?






Steve Fett, a pretty famous architecture friend of mine, recently told me that Google has forever removed the ability to wonder from our human experience. I laughed then but now I have had time to reflect. A part of me is saddened by the revelation that our daughters and their daughters will no longer be able to marvel at the wonder of it all; that instead, they will simply "Google It," and move on.
But then another part of me, the part I like to call "Pollyanna," decided that just because Google banished the art of wonder from our boring little lives, it also makes life better more convenient through modern technology. These real truths cannot be ignored but instead need to be embraced in order to put some real wondering back into our daily lives. Which made me wonder, "If wonder is gone, what's left to discover?"
 


This quirky site lets you wonder in a very visually organized fashion. Check it out. Discover a unique product or store that you've never heard of and dive right in. Some of the site functionality may seem rudimentary, but content is king in this court and the flavor is pretty yummy and fresh.

Growing in popularity, you may have already heard of Pinterest. Maybe it was because you always wondered how to make homemade ding dongs. Maybe not. Either way, this is probably the most robustly built out experience when it comes to the new mode of discovery and wonder in the digital age.

Lets you find the products you love from the brands you find interesting. Also finding products you want through people you like. Hmmmm. An interesting take on some heavy marketing data initiatives packaged like tiny store modules; all based on a users social graph. Also interesting to note that consumer rating options include Buy, Want and I Own This; similar to the verb announcement from Facebook last September. 

A bookmarking site that serves to inspire and connect and possibly save the world with design, this offers the most adult-rated content of all the discovery sites I've listed out today. Things could change tomorrow, but that's okay. I like FFFFOUND! for the funky fresh content and its quick set up from one tumblr account to publish. 

This is just a start, I hope, of a journey back into the ability to wonder and delight. Thanks to all things social -- both digital and REALLY, REALLY social of the social nature (you get my point) we may be able to claw ourselves to a place where we can see all the proper marketing messages from businesses and brands yet also retain a sense of autonomy and choice in the whole choreographed process of wondering about something and stumbling upon something sublime. Google didn't derail us entirely and I don't think Google removed our ability to wonder. I just think it elevated the challenge for all parties involved. That's a good thing, me thinks, and I look forward to wondering what will happen next.