Hugo Pinto

Innovation, Strategy, Technology, Data @IBM Interative Experience

Blogs, Video & Photography: The Internet’s American Dream

After doing some preparation a Social Media training session for a customer, I started putting together some key Internet dates, and a few keep coming back when I think about what’s happening on the WWW (Whole Wide World) today, as genius concepts that have changed everything!

Blogger

Started in August 1999 by Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan, Blogging is now a widespread, easy to use and probably the introduction of Internet users to programming, with over 300 Million around the world.

What started as the pinnacle of the1:9:90 rule has helped create habits and needs in web users, and helped shape services like Social Networks in more recent years, but it began impacting politics early on in 2003, with theRathergate scandal. More recently it played a key role in US Elections.

Because other media where (and still are) manipulated by many different interests, blogging was a straightforward opinion format, in which an individual – usually not important enough, or too inconvenient to reach mass media – broadcast that opinion to anyone interested in reading it. So anyone looking for that information would find it!

In 2005, Forbes published a list of the 8 most influencial blogs (among them Jason Calcanis’ – a personal favorite) and suddenly it was mainstream.

Blogs were becoming a threat to journalism, but they were also becoming an opportunity, as anonymous people with interesting (or just different) things to say could now build a following and even become influential.

That goes without saying that the epitome of blogging was personified by Perez Hilton, that started blogging as a hobby but quickly changed the face of celebrity Gossip. Hilton claimed that on July 30, 2007, a seemingly “ordinary day,” Perezhilton.com had over 8.82 million page views in a 24 hour period. Of course that could just be gossip…

Blogging is not just a job title for hipsters, it is a legitimate profession, and one that keeps on growing in both popularity and income potential!

Youtube

The need to make the Internet useful after the bubble burst brought along the Web 2.0 revolution, and suddenly it was all about getting people actively involved with websites, brands and between themselves.

The founders supposedly wanted to share videos from a party but it was tremendously complex to do so in a way you could share it anyway and with anyone you wanted. This video (the first ever published on Youtube, on the 23 of April 2005) was the realization of a dream that would change our lives, one video at a time!

What started off with Friendster in 2002, evolved with MySpace in 2003 and took over the Music Industry – but that wasn’t it! The information was growing so quickly, there was a need to compartmentalize and segment media, making it accessible and usable by anyone, and video, as the richest form of media was no different.

UGC (User Generated Content) was the new trend for key media outlets, content producers and brands especially because everyone wanted their 15 minutes of fame – and the Web was the (cheap) way to get there.

Remember Elf-yourself? It was probably the first viral version of an e-card. Their secret ingredient: Share with your friends via e-mail! They actually achieved the popularity of a viral campaign before Viral Campaigns even existed – and the proof that it has a place online is that they are still here.

Justin-Bieber-GIF-2-justin-bieber-20640312-246-144Everyone was hungry to become famous and think about the effort it took to become famous before all of the above were around – you’d have to troll casting agencies or stalk stars after shows to become noticeable. Internet was the platform of the American Dream. And like Perez Hilton with blogging, Justin Bieber reached superstar popularity using the mother of all video sites: Youtube!

Just upload a video and the world is your stage, literally.

The popularity effect is the self-realization of the potential of the platform, and no wonder that cats, dogs and babies rule as there are our biggest source of happiness – whether you admit it or not!

Instagram

I was (and still am) a sucker for photography apps, and Hipstamatic was on top of my list – until I tried Instagram. The social concept of photography, following people like Twitter, and categorizing with Hashtags your own photos was revolutionary.

Of course Flickr enabled sharing photos online, but it was process oriented, not user-centric, and that’s why I find Instagram so revolutionary. Tumblr and Pinterest are also very cool, but I still remember when I got my first photo featured on the homepage of this simple mobile app (total sucker, I told you).

It’s probably one of the reasons why cameras are so important in smartphones, and again, enabling anyone to have a go at photography and deepen this art, learning from others, joining photowalks or participate in gallery exhibitions.

Professional photographers shouldn’t be scared, they should be using it as means of promotion – embrace the revolution, don’t fight it.

We are in the early stages of a revolution as big as democracy itself, so it’s OK to be concerned about privacy, copyrights and freedom of speech, but please don’t try and resist it – try and use it for the best – the web is what you make of it – for both good and bad.

The bottom-line is: whatever your dream is, search for it on Google, learn how others got their break and get your hands dirty – yours might be only a few photos, videos or posts away! Even if you think you’re alone in your small town, remember there are hundreds of thousands of small towns connected to the Internet!

What websites changed your life?

 

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