I'm addicted to FFFFound, the bare-bones image-bookmarking service. After you install a bookmarklet, it's dead easy to post images you come across to the FFFFound community, and as you build a collection, new images are recommended to you (of course, I have no idea how that algorithm must work. It may be quite arbitrary, but I love checking out the images on the "New for you!" section).
I've joined a load of 2.0/sharing/community type sites, and usually abandon them after the first day. What makes FFFFound different is a combination of its simplicity, tight focus on great design and the immediate sense of a tight-knit community the site has. A fewfriendsarealready on, so I get to lurk at their finds, which is nice. Plus, I get the feeling on FFFFound that the core is a passionate designer and graphic artists community, and the niche focus really works.
A couple of new features would be really welcomed. Johanna thought a badge for the blog would be cool, and a Twitter-like "add friend/follower" type thing would be neat also, but even without those, I'm still hooked.
I'm out of invites, but if you manage to get your hands one on, I'm chroma there, come find me.
A Brief Message, a blog featuring design opinions "expressed in short form- 200 words or less" delivers on its promise: pithy and provocative posts about design in the real world, such as this nugget from Clay Shirky:
Arrogance without humility is a recipe for high-concept irrelevance; humility without arrogance guarantees unending mediocrity. Figuring out how to be arrogant and humble at once, figuring out when to watch users and when to ignore them for this particular problem, for these users, today, is the problem of the designer.
Shirky uses the iPod and MySpace as examples of the two poles, and it's a fine distinction.
I find that thinking about design in this broad sense is very helpful (it's the same dynamic at work, whether we're talking about designing products, designing experiences, or even playing records. For the DJ for instance, the battle between arrogance and humility is a common theme: playing for the crowd versus playing for yourself).
A few weeks ago I wanted to start a Facebook group called "If Microsoft buys Facebook, I'm leaving", but I thought I should do a quick search within Facebook to see if something like that already existed. Sure enough, there was an existing group, with a nearly identical name: If Microsoft buys Facebook then I will leave. I joined the other 200 or so people already there and left it that.
I'm pretty sure the number of members will grow, though, when and if Microsoft gets their mitts on Facebook. It has to. There are too many Microsoft haters out there for it not to happen, and there is very little stopping me or anyone else from up and leaving. As far as I'm concerned me and my friends (and their friends, and so on and so on) are the community. Sure there are a lot of neat features (poke!), but I don't really care that much about them, and I don't think they'd be too hard to replicate elsewhere anyway.
So what would Microsoft be buying, exactly? Us, right?! And of course, they'd would be obviously betting that a lot more people would stick around then leave; that's easy enough to figure out, and it's just what happened, and is happening, with Rupert Murdoch and MySpace, or Google and YouTube or Yahoo! and Flickr.
While it's tempting to think of any of these communities as "places", or things in the Old Media sense, they really aren't. Case in point: it was just announced that MSNBC had purchased Newsvine, a news-sharing/citizen-journalism community, and members of that community are already grumbling about the acquisition. I think these comments from the Loose Wire blog (via Russell) are right on the money:
It's one of the unresolved paradoxes of Web 2.0 (and citizen journalism): How do you reward those who make a website like Newsvine what it is? Or at least, how do you avoid making them feel hopelessly exploited?
My answer is I don't think you can. The problem is that "the community", the real one made of people and not the one made up of code, will figure this out sooner or later.
Newsvine, Facebook, YouTube and the rest do the easy part: they provide the tools and the platform for people to do what people do: share stuff, shoot the shit, stalk ex-girlfriends, whatever. What's even easier is the Rich Big Company buying them out. The most important factor(s), and the hardest part, in all of this is always all of us, and everything we pore into these communities that makes them what they are. The current model for the monetization of communities sucks if you ask me, it's a flat-out sell-out. And if Microsoft buys Facebook, I'm high-tailing out of there.
The kids at Anomaly have put together a smart set of videos for Virgin America featuring "cameo appearances" from the likes of Peter Rojas, Kevin Rose, Alex Albrecht and others (you do know who they are, right?!).
A clever way to tell us about what makes Virgin different, including of course, PLUGS!
I get that the best ads tap into important social and cultural issues and conversations. That's cool.
So why is it that the new Dove spot seems so patronizing?
I have a very young daughter (three and half), so I can't be accused of not "getting" the message. But do I need an advertiser to point this stuff out to me? Do I need Dove to tell me to talk to my daughter.