Sunday, September 18, 2011

First wave

This past week, I watched my 1,000th Twitter follower clock in. Sure, a huge proportion of those are bots, but many are real-life friends and colleagues, and people I've never met but hugely admire. Bizarrely, my 1,000th follower was Chris at Rizzo Tee's - the first person to ever comment on my blog back in 2008. Today Chris is a VP of Social Media - a job title which barely even existed when he and I briefly exchanged emails just one year after Twitter's debut at SXSW.

But it's not just me who's marking milestones. Another first generation blogger released her first book this week - Grace at Design Sponge. To my memory, Design Sponge was among the first blogs to really challenge print. When I first started reading her blog, I was working in a design studio which had a vast wall of carefully chronicled magazines spanning Elle Deco, Domino, Interiors, Wallpaper, Monocle and so on. But with Grace's daily postings, that wall quickly started to feel outdated and static. When Grace blogged about her fears over losing her job at Domino, neither she nor her readers could have anticipated the power and influence her blog would ultimately obtain.

Anyway, we know all about the "transformative power" of the internet, and I believe we are gradually arriving at the point where it's no longer seen as a separate conversation. But there really is something wonderful about hearing Grace Bonney say that she started her blog in 2004 "as a way to talk about the things that I love" and to see how far she's come today - through changes in her own life and changes in technology. Camilla's Store was started for exactly the same reason, and it remains one of my proudest and constantly evolving achievements. So, before I start to get too emo, thanks for the follows, thanks for reading, and here's to the next milestone whatever that may be.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

GIFS are so hot right now

Sometimes nothing makes me happier - or more of a geek - than to see something bubble up and go mainstream. Working with a load of hipsters in Shoreditch obviously makes the challenge of spotting trends a little like shooting fish in a barrel - odds are that eventually one of their unique foibles will catch on. So, it is not with too much self-congratulation that I see the animated GIF style appear in Kanye West's new video "Marvin and Chardonnay".

Nevertheless, the GIF tag on my bookmarks has been steadily growing in examples since November 2010. Running almost concurrently with our ever decreasing attention spans, animated GIFs have been circulating via email and on Twitter more and more this year. In August, Fast Company even went so far as to call Animated GIFs an "art form" having featured Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg's fashionista "cinemagraphs" several months previously.

Photographs are too static, two-minute YouTube videos are too time consuming; somehow these bite-sized pieces of entertainment consisting sometimes of no more than a few frames, now represent just about all the visual stimulation we can handle. And now there's even an App for that.