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Everything is Miscellaneous

October 29, 2007

Target (Australia)

Image via Wikipedia

There’s a great book called Everything is Miscellaneous. It talks about the Web offering the ability to order things that we want to share online in just about any conceivable manner.

Think about Target. It’s order is dictated by physics. Men’s clothes are over there, babies clothes over here. The kitchen stuff is there. There’s a science in the order of things, and a science in getting people through the store easily and in a manner that makes them buy more. (Grocery stores put staples in the back to get us back there.)

But online, things aren’t constrained by physics.

That’s the point of Everything is Miscellaneous: online, there isn’t a need for order. Things are merely 0’s and 1’s and computers don’t need an elaborate hierarchy to find them. That’s why at Target.com, Men’s Jeans can be tagged with ‘camping, mens, jeans, casual friday’s, clothing, men’s fit, tight fitting, loose fitting, etc. In fact, there’s no limitation on how to tag the jeans. And since a tag is just a search term, the more things you tag jeans with, the better chance people will find them.

Because really, how can Target know what people looking for jeans will type into the search engine when looking for jeans? And plus, Target will sell more tings if it can deliver more things on a search.

That’s why things are miscellaneous.

Anyway, the reason for this post is a new thing called Twine. Twine is attempting to make things in our life that are truly miscellaneous, e-mails, photos, documents, calendar notes, etc, organized. I have no idea how they are going to do it. With a 16-month old, I can tell you that we have a treasure chest of digital photos and movies that are about an miscellaneous as it can get.

But this is still part of the overall point. We have all this data on our daughter because we can. And we share it at Flickr, Tabblo, YouTube, on a blog, in e-mail, in Facebook, on LiveVideo. As you can see, I need a manager to manage all the places I share my daughter with the world.

That there is a thing called Twine, which promises to manage the places online that we share is an indication that we’re in a time of incredible sharing. It’s time for marketers to admit it. When putting together a marketing plan, perhaps it’s time to consider ‘how will our target market share this information?” Because people like to share.

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