It’s time to retire the word Internet.
In its place we can simply say nothing, or we can say Life.
Listen, it’s not 1991 anymore. That year is finally over. Hamsters spinning on wheels are no longer a part of the ‘going online’ process. Our connection to the so-called Internet is more than 24/7. It’s not just a connection to a bunch of bits and bots. It’s a connection to each other. All of the fancy offerings and gadgets these days have been created to be more intuitive to provide a more fluid experience. All this means is that the technology is being rendered more and more invisible. Technology is just a time-erasing tool that has the power to stitch two sides of the globe together instantly.
Lags are minimal. The humanity is becoming maximal. Baby pictures, half eaten sandwiches, graduations, birthdays, favorite songs, you name it. These can all no be easily embedded into the conversations of our life. The great river or connectedness rolls on. You can contribute to the stream, or you can stay in your wi-fi-less cabin and pine for the Neanderthal days of geocities and Prodigy.
This is the new reality that everyone who wants to ‘connect’ needs to consider. Everything y build to launch into our new stream must be optimized for human consumption. If it looks, feels and works like it was made by robots, then it will probably only resonate with robots. And sadly, robots haven’t evolved to the point where their development can push the world forward. So until we arrive in some sort of dystopian world of ubiquitous AI, build things for humans.
Before you shove off in your technological raft to deliver your breakthrough product, take a long consideration about how humans work. Will your offering make our constant connection easier, more meaningful more human? Or are you adding more buttons because you think you should. Answer the central question of ‘why should I care?’ If you can craft compelling reasons for people to care deeply, your raft of technology is headed for the right current. If you can’t answer the ‘why’ part, then you may be in for a costly ride straight for a whirlpool of anti-progress.
The most powerful thing humans can do, have been the most powerful things they’ve always been able to do. The ability to make people feel. Make me laugh, make me cry, make me nostalgic, make me feel something. When I feel, I talk about it. I press buttons. I clap my hands like a circus monkey. If you can visualize your audience reacting like cymbal banging circus monkeys to your latest launch, launch it now. If not, hold back, and reengineer a bunch of humanity into the core, and release when it’s ready.Tweet
It started off as a dorm room joke. Then it evolved into a campus experiment before eventually tipping into a multi-billion dollar advertising juggernaut.
Does Facebook represent a new way of doing business, or are we caught up in the interactive glare of a new Fool’s Gold?
I believe Facebook as it currently exists is not sustainable. It’s meteoric rise has been impressive and inspiring, but is that due more to the fact that they were the first ones to bet heavily (and with great ambition) in the social networking space.
Google is learning from Facebook’s learnings and has been chasing them with a passion. With Google’s recently refreshed mobile app, you could even argue that Google ‘gets’ mobile better than Facebook. That’s concerning considering the present and future of digital will be predominantly mobile.
Facebook is a phenomenal personal networking tool. It’s a great way to keep up with friends. But other than automating the ease with which you can connect, what additional value are they providing customers? I can see how they are offering advertisers tremendous value. ‘Pay us and you can talk to our 900 million citizens.’ But what is the value for those 900 million? Is Facebook sustainable as an advertising sales company?
What happens when people ignore the ads? Get fed up with the intrusions? Or another social network rises to prominence by promising to be ad free?
I think Facebook will chase its tail a little bit here. From one point of view, you could claim that Facebook has become the digital equivalent of a television broadcast network. They are making broadcast space available to advertisers for a fee. Yes, there is the omnipresent ‘Like’ button to make it technically ‘two-way’ conversation. But are people begging for these ads? Do people wake up and say ‘Man, I really want to engage with some brands online today.’
If they do, then Facebook has cracked the code. If not, perhaps they are a traditional broadcast media platform in social media clothing (coding).
I think Facebook is in a great position to radically change what they do. I’m not sure if the investors will allow that to happen. But if they built some new, surprising arms to their operation, they could take their business to another level. They could leverage their massive user base to create products around the types of things that people love sharing. Music, video, and hell, even something like GIFs. But those theories are fodder for another post, or a coffee talk with the Chief Hoodied Officer himself.
Time and dollars will tell.
All I know, is when it comes to Facebook’s stock:
‘Like’ low, ‘Unlike’ high.Tweet
With Instagram launching for Android, the popular photo-sharing app will now be flooded with photos from regular people.
When Instagram was exclusively on iOS, it was the privileged domain of artists only. It’s stream showed non-stop inspirational images that stirred our collective soul. We got a window into modern life. We got careful studies of clouds against stunning rainbow gradient sunsets.
There is no telling what kind of images mere commoners will upload. There is effectively no quality control now that non-artists have been granted access to the revolutionary app.
Were Steve Jobs still with us, I’m certain he would have taken measures to keep Instagram an iPhone exclusive. He understood the particular madness and sensitivities of the artist.
Instagram is not just an application, it is a community. It was a community. And every community comes with its own set of standards. Its own tastes.
Now, sadly, it has been relegated to a mere service. It’s like a calculator now. The Instagram developers have sold out and in the process exposed their taste, or lack thereof. Android users don’t try to capture their images with any degree of artistry. They capture their images factually. Robotically, just like the tiny green robot that symbolizes their brand.
‘Here is what I am eating.’
‘Here is what I am looking at.’
‘This is my place of work.’
Efficient. Sterile. Without personality.
Instagram was once a haven a wit, inside jokes and lessons in cinematography. Instagram, when it was on iOS exclusively, was a posh mobile art gallery. It was a virtual gallery that fit in our pockets and we were free to contribute to its walls when the muse descended upon us.
Now Instagram will turn into Facebook. Mark my words. The magic is over. It will become a factual stream filled with literal, soulless images, simply taken with little thought, simply to pass time. Images not captured to inspire or move.
Instagram just had one million users join in the past 24 hours that will turn the tides and tendencies of this once proud community into a stream of visual status updates.
It will become TwitPic 2.0/ It will be a pure visual Timeline.
It’s fine for a service like that to exist. In fact many do. It’s just said to see a once proud artist colony like Instagram open the floodgates to the wider internet.
Cue the cat photos. Ready the memes.
It’s only been 24 hours, but my soul has already been crushed by the army of one million Androids. I already pine for the once walled garden of the iOS only Instagram.Tweet
I pulled out my typewriter tonight. I’m that kind of person. I relish owning a vintage typewriter. But not in the art object, hipster show off kind of way. I mean, I show it off, but only because I actually use the thing. I find it inspiring to create strands of words that way. It accesses a different part of my imagination that I can’t get to with a keyboard, or a tablet or with my handwriting.
I’m a writer who loves the literary tradition. I’m a copywriter who loves long copy and manifestos. So yeah, I have a typewriter. If you talk to me about writing for a few seconds, it’s almost implied.
I have a typewriter and I love my iPad. I love technology, but I also see how it is destroying us. It’s too easy to abuse. The convenience lets us easily do a whole lot of nothing. That nothing takes time and effort, so we feel satisfied when we’re done. Even if the only thing we did was enter identical status updates across four different SNS services. It feels like an accomplishment, and sometimes they even give us things called badges. Congratulations for wasting your time! Here’s a virtual trophy!
We will not advance our culture if our motivations become pixelated badges. We must fight to still communicate with soul and substance. As humans. Those qualities don’t jive well with out so called new media channels. But our era will be a shallow, disposable dynasty if we don’t find ways to communicate with substance. We must continue to try and move each other. To stir souls and not be satisfied with accumulating ‘likes.’Tweet
Tumblr is a great open source platform for creativity and curation. What they should focus on next is finding a way to make discovering great tumblogs easier. They have search and tags right now, but it still feels very obscure and random as you are going through them. They should hire an editorial staff to cull through tumblogs and then build a new way to emphasize them on the sire. The nature of Tumblr right now makes it a great insider community, but if they have any ambition to bring a level of presentation to the revolution they’ve started, they would make the whole nature of Tumblr a lot more accessible to the larger Internet audience. But on their terms. Tumblr has a chance to redefine modern media.Tweet