Widgets, Nuggets and Tags on the Cut and Paste Web

elmer’s glueIn a post entitled In the Cut and Past Era, Traffic Happens Everywhere, Stevve Rubel talked about what he dubbed the”cut and paste web.”  On this slice and dice web, any piece of content can be placed on a user’s desktop, web page or mobile deice.  Content on the web is downsizing – becoming “micro content.”  Micro content takes the form of widgets, video clips, twitter grams.  Its emergence has been driven by our busy schedules and short attention spans.  What is interesting about micro content is that it can travel anywhere, and can be a traffic magnet that links disparate users around a comman purpose.

It occurs to me that publishers could combine three powerful elements of this cut and paste web into a new marketing form:  a widget, a nugget of content and a tag all in one.   Here’s how it might work.

tagsPublishers could provide a widget that parses out the content of a book on a free subscription basis.  Interested readers get the content e-mailed to them, similar to a service like BookLit.com.  The widget would also enable readers to tag the content they get.  Tags, could be graphics as well as text.  Subscribers could view others’ tags.  Contributions by readers to the tagging process represent a kind of voting that could be more interactive than the usual 1 tto 5 star rating system.  Marketers could harvest this content and reflect it back to potential audiences – e.g. as book videos.  It could also provide valuable feedback about what readers found significant or compelling in a title. 

Such widgets would make it easy for others to see the developing buzz about a title.   These “buzz widgets” could also be equipped to let users buy the book.  They could link readers to social networks built around the title or genre.  Heidi Cohen provides a good overview of other ways book marketers can use widgets in her post “What’s up with Widgets?” on ClickZ. 

The hardest part for marketers might be having to sit back and let the audience drive. 

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