Taste, he said, cuts to the core of a person’s evolving identity – his past, present and future. Interests can be more casual and transactional – stuff you might have, not the person that you are. But taste implies a commitment of time and thought and, beyond defining who you are, it can inspire others.
“You have the taste that you’ve done the due diligence to have,” he said.
In advocating for taste, he argued that in connecting people and spreading awareness about movies, food, films and cultural trends, social networking has made it so that “everything, everywhere looks the same.”
Even though the Web has given us the tools to find like-minded people, its filters aren’t good enough for us to always find and communicate with them at scale, he said. The Internet has the potential to connect people with the most esoteric taste – such as those who love funny pictures of cats (a la this) – but not all tribes that organize around culture can find and deeply connect with their cohorts online.
As a result, his bet is that people will increasingly opt for vertical-specific communities that, in a sense, celebrate, organize around and help people develop taste.
“It isn’t about good taste or bad taste,” he said. “But that you make your taste your own.”
The web has brought many more options to our fingertips, making the process of selecting the communities and content we want to spend our time with all the more difficult. And, in some contexts, time-saving data-driven and human-curated discovery tools are incredibly valuable. But in others, I’m starting to think, I’d rather lose time than taste.