Posts Tagged ‘internet’

What do web trends and subway maps have in common?

April 9, 2009

Answer: Quite a lot if you live in Japan. Some clever people at Information Architects have mapped the most popular web trends of 2009 onto the Tokyo tube system map. Each rail line represents a topic – for example there is an Advertising Line, Entertainment Line and a News Line – whereas each station represents a particular trend, which could be a brand, person or internet meme.

But what’s really clever is that each web trend correlates to the characteristics of each real-life station. For example, if this was a map of the London Underground we might see YouTube represented as Liverpool Street, due its large traffic and association with flash-mob videos.  Similarly, Old Street might be Twitter due to the large population of social media types based in Shoreditch.


Obviously these subtleties will make more sense to those living in Japan but it’s an impressive piece of work none-the-less, and they’ve picked up quite a bit of coverage off the back of it too. Click here for a high-res version of the map.

Gail Trimble vs Jade Goody…

February 25, 2009

Many newspapers have recently drawn a parallel between the media frenzies surrounding Jade Goody and Gail Trimble.

They have all commented that there is something disturbing about a society that revels in its own ignorance. Jade has earned huge sums of money for not doing anything in particular other than being famed for her ignorance, while Gail Trimble found herself at the receiving end of an internet hate campaign after showing her knowledge on University Challenge.

Yes, it’s terrible. Or is it?

Certainly, granting fame and fortune to people for nothing in particular is not a new trend. Socialites (i.e. people famous for going to parties) have been around for hundreds of years – and they are still common today: Paris Hilton, Tara Palmer Tomkinson and even Liz Hurley started their careers in this way. Many more people are simply born to their fame. There’s actually a good argument to say that Jade did more to earn her fame than the Queen.

And has Gail really been attacked online? In fact, I could only find a tiny handful of negative articles amid an avalanche of praise. Conversely, Jade was ridiculed in every newspaper and television show in the land. Essentially she became a jester, willing to be laughed at to make a living (albeit a good one!)

Generally speaking, intelligence is one last area where prejudice can remain. Where criticising someone’s sex, height, age, appearance or skin colour would lead to a world of trouble, attacking intelligence is considered fair game. And it’s undeniable that celebrities receive more flak for not having it, than for having too much of it.

If a few disgruntled Oxbridge haters want to sound off online, well, that’s the democracy of the internet and their own insecurities. But, comparatively to Jade, Gail has seen respect and support.


Donkeying around

December 22, 2008


In my last post, I considered the growing popularity of online shopping.  I spotted an unusual story this morning, which illustrates the flipside of the coin: residents in Chalford, Gloucestershire, are buying their Christmas vegetables from Teddy the donkey.  Reviving an old tradition, Teddy works tirelessly every Saturday morning to deliver groceries and other treats to houses inaccessible by car. 


In a world increasingly dominated by the Internet, I took a moment this morning to contemplate the fact that there are still a number of areas where the digital age has yet to make its mark… And Teddy the donkey is living proof. 

Teddy the Chalford Donkey

Teddy the Chalford Donkey

X Factor or internet factor?

December 16, 2008

Alexandra Burke surprised us all when she won the X Factor last Saturday. Well, that’s a lie, it wasn’t a surprise to be quite honest – I thought it was obvious she should win. The bookies have made hundreds of thousands of pounds out of her winning, and look set to make much more as she’s storming the charts, well on her way to becoming this year’s Christmas number one. Her single had sold more than 105,000 copies since going on sale at midnight on Saturday, less than two hours after she won the fifth series of the ITV1 reality show.

Is Lilys success down to MySpace?

Is Lily's success down to MySpace?

So, the question I ask is this: is the accessibility, the ease of downloading songs nowadays, the main reason she’s already so successful? Are people that much more tech savvy now that they know they can acquire her song without having to leave the comfort of their own home? I’d hazard a guess at yes.

However, a bigger question to ask, is that of the internet: is the internet the main reason why artists are so successful today? Is it not so much a case of really great music being made, but instead, being made so easily available to buy at such a low cost that people buy it just for the sake of it?  

Would Lily Allen be so well known now had it not been for MySpace? I sense not, and that’s one of the joys (or pitfalls) of the internet. Stores like iTunes and recently, Amazon’s MP3 store are further compounding this surge in music downloads, as are apps like Pandora and Shazam on the iPhone. Both Pandora and Shazam link back to the internet, as when using the app, you are directed to the internet site related to them to buy the song you’re hearing.

All in all, the internet is most definitely a contributing factor in the success – both monetary and in terms of popularity – of some of today’s music stars. Not all of them, however, warrant their success…but that’s a whole separate rant!

Free and open

September 25, 2008

The Webfather, Tim Berners-Lee, will not be happy. Merely days after he announced the formation of the World Wide Web Foundation, designed to extend the accessibility of a free and open internet, BT has said that sooner or later users will have to start paying ISPs for some content.

As applications become increasingly bandwidth hungry, ISPs are struggling to cope with the demand and are seriously looking into the possibility of charging for high data applications such as streaming video, meaning your beloved iPlayer will no longer be free.

An unfortunate side effect of this new model may see organisations that operate as both content providers and service providers rein back the spread of their material to avoid seeing competing ISPs profit from their content. So that’s ‘free’ and ‘open’ taken care of then.

I can sympathise with content providers implementing business models that monetise their products post-Napster, they do, after all, have the right to charge for the media they produce. But paying the middle men? I just can’t get on board with that. I would much rather have my monthly subscription hiked up a little, allowing me to consume all the media I desire.

Let’s hope the news from OFCOM’s latest consultation on next generation networks will delay ISP’s itchy trigger fingers until they are rolled out. I’m not very optimistic…time for Tim to get to work!

Congratulations Google!

September 24, 2008

Google officially celebrates its 10th Birthday today and they’ve released a timeline of the company’s history to commemorate their achievement.  From Google setting up in a Silicon Valley garage in 1998 to becoming the behemoth it is today, Google has revolutionised how we use the internet.

In keeping with their ‘don’t be evil’ mantra, Google has also launched Project 10100 which is “a call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible”.  People can submit their ideas that they think will help the world, vote on the submitted ideas and Google has committed to fund the best ideas.  Genius.

Check out the introductory video here:

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