There is too much information online, too many pages filled with stock images and no context. Search engines provide significant utility, but we still have to exert energy to find what we need after results are algorithmically surfaced. The new crop of social media companies help discovery come online and threaten traditional search. With these new tools, users are able to clip and collect the bits of the web that they are most interested in and, in the process, disregard the rest as noise.
Sites like Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, Instapaper, Snip.it, Clipboard, and Curisma, among others, all allow their users to decide what aspects of the web (text, media, etc.) are worth saving and sharing, instead of browsing the web from Google, or even Facebook for that matter. Because many of these networks have asymmetric follow/follower models, and because users can “tune” whom they are following, users’ feeds could increase in relevance as items are retweeted or repinned. These networks allow for self-expression, and in doing so, re-sort and re-shape the web we see, and that is a very big shift away from traditional search toward social discovery.