I am in the slightly surreal position of writing this Curios whilst our blog is in fact broken (a fact in no way due to incompetence on the part of anyone, no sirree), meaning that there is NO GUARANTEE that any of you will be able to read this sparkling prose. It’s strangely liberating, much like the fact that I am sitting here clad in nothing but a tshirt and a winning smile. I could say ANYTHING!
I won’t, of course; I need the money that webmonging provides. Instead, I will pause a moment to reflect upon a week in which it turns out that God’s not quite ready for us yet (unless of course the Rapture in fact happened and it simply turned out that He took a good look at us and thought “Actually, hang on, none of this shower is worth saving”. It wouldn’t be that surprising, given, you know, stuff like this); in which Ryan Giggs realised that you can’t in fact sue the internet (an aside – does anyone else think there’s something STARTLINGLY VULGAR about the incredible speed at which the Imogen Thomas cash-in vehicle is now moving? The full-page Paddy Power ads in this morning’s Metro were a particular highlight; well done, everyone, aren’t we CLEVER!), thus hopefully putting an end to this startlingly tedious superinjunction business (or that’s what Giles Coren hopes, anyway. Out of interest, if I just write Gareth Barry’s name here does that mean that I go to jail too?); in which some of the most powerful men in the world met in London (and they let The Man play too!) to take part in what appears to have been the worst game of table tennis ever played; and in which over 13,000 people LISTENED TO MY VOICE – on that point, in the unlikely event that anyone from Radio 4 is reading this and you fancy mixing up your roster of continuity announcers a bit, I am absolutely open to offers. HIRE ME, RADIO 4.
On that note, and with the threat of both jail and, I would imagine, the sack hanging over me, on with the internetstuff. Happy Friday, my children, happy Friday to one and all.
Things About The Internet:
- These aren’t new news, so I won’t dwell on them as you’ve doubtless read about them on some other SOCIAL MEDIA GURU’S blog, but Facebook has added the ability to tag Pages in photos (thus giving us all that longed-for ability to link to Coca Cola’s Facebook page from our pictures. Hear that sound? That’s the sound of thousands and thousands of souls, fizzing sadly into nothingness as we take one more step towards being nothing more than dead-eyed marketing shills!), and has also updated the manner in which its ‘Share’ functionality works, allowing users to share links with specific Groups / Friends. There’s nothing evil about that, I don’t think.
- This IS New – Google Correlate – New cleverness from Google, allowing you to map search terms against each other to find patterns. It’s appallingly hard to explain, or at least it is for me; they do it rather better on the site, so I suggest that you go there.
- Social Search and Filter Bubbles and Stuff: Both Google and Bing hace recently been wanging on about their increased commitment to integrating social into search; that is, factoring in data from your Facebook and Twitter profiles when compiling search results. WHY IS THIS A GOOD IDEA? Ok, so I’m possibly being a luddite about this, but my friends are not necessarily experts on stuff I am searching for. Just because 8 morons who I used to go to school with and haven’t spoken to in 16 years happen to ‘like’ a story from the Mail Online doesn’t mean I want it appearing at the top of my search rankings. Ok, so obviously it’s more sophisticated than this, but this is a prime example of the growing problem of filter bubbles, as brilliantly explained in this recent TED talk by Eli Pariser (it really is interesting, I promise) – that is, information filtering based on existing tastes / preferences, and the problem of sourcing that this can and does create; when the web can learn our tastes, can provide us with prioritised information based on what our friends – who are likely to be like us – are consuming, what are the long-term consequences? This isn’t a new concept – after all, people have been reading the newspaper that best reinforces their existing worldview for years – but one that will become increasingly relevant as automated curation becomes ’smarter’ (or, at the very least, more ubiquitous). Perhaps we should all make an effort to take our news from a different source each week? Just a thought.
- NOT STRICTLY ABOUT THE INTERNET BUT STILL WORTH READING: A Really Good Article About Making: As an antidote to that, this is genuinely the most inspiring thing I’ve read in ages. I am generally not a fan of motivational / life lesson-type stuff, but this is a truly wonderful piece of writing about doing and making and creativity and the brilliance of being curious. Do take 5 minutes to read it; I promise you that you will be slightly happier and more inspired afterwards.
- How To Win Arguments On The Internet Without Really Knowing What You’re Talking About: This is actually a very smart piece on the psychology of debate and the particular application of it online. Part of a series of essays, and worth a look. Largely so you can up your troll game.
Some Websites I Have Liked Recently:
- Ana Somnia – I’ve never been a little girl, and it’s unlikely this state of affairs will change in this lifetime; nonetheless, had I been one this is what I like to imagine my dreams would have been like. An awesomely trippy website which is halfwaybetween storybook and art project, and which has one of the most captivatingly creepy and odd soundtracks I’ve heard in a while. Click and play – a lot of it’s procedurally generated, it would seem, which means each of you will experience it in a different manner.
- Vorsong Iceberg Energy Water Feng Shui Brand! – I’m reasonably sure that this is some sort of spoof, but I’m buggered if I can work out of what / why. If it’s not, there are some very, very strange people marketing this water.
- Er, Horseracing? – I don’t read Japanese, therefore my ability to understand what in the name of sweet Baby Jesus this is about is pretty much 0. It’s…just mental, really. Just click stuff until the race starts and watch, mouth agape, at the ensuing oddness.
- Shame Be Gone – My lovely colleague Chris Smith alerted me to this yesterday; it offers the potentially useful service of writing hard emails for you. Want to dump someone? Need to explain exactly why you were cheating on your wife with that glamour model? These guys can help.
- Dumb Tweets At Brands – Sometimes the quality of ‘engagement’ brands can achieve through social media is of questionable value.
The HitchHiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – This Wednesday was Towel Day, and reminded me not only of the sheer amazingness of Douglas Adams’ work but also how good the original Hitchhiker’s game was. I say ‘game’; it’s more an interactive novel, the whole thing written by Adams’ himself and containing some brilliant gags and some of the most impressive / frustrating (depending on your mood) examples of lateral thinking you will ever find. Take the afternoon off and play it. You too, The Man!
Some Wordy Stuff:
- Ulysses, On Twitter – Literary experimentation in 140 characters isn’t new (I covered this in a VERY early web curios, for example), but this is a really interesting experience. The idea is to recruit a bunch of James Joyce aficionados to take sections of the legendarily ‘challenging’ novel and submit them to a central account, from which they will be tweeted on 16th June as part of Bloomsday (an annual celebration of Joyce’s life and work) – as the novel unfolded over the course of a single day, so the Tweets will reflect the narrative. Will be interesting to see how it works.
- Live Writing Projection – This might be my favourite thing on here this week. As part of the promotion for New Zealand’s BNZ literary awards, the opening lines of short stories were projected onto public spaces in Aotea Square, Auckland. And then passers-by started to realise that the story being written might be about them…
- Motion Poems – Poetry set to animation. Some really beautiful work on here; recommended.
VideoStuff! Enjoy – and given the fact that it’s our last bank holiday for AGES, I ORDER you to slack off for the rest of the day and watch all of them.
1) I’m opening with what is by far and away the most rubbish song I’ve featured on Curios for AGES. It’s worth it, though, for the video is all kinds of supervideogamegeekery. See how many retrogame references you can spot – there are HUNDREDS in there. I’m thinking that the audience for this is going to be primarily male. Oh, and if you do like this song then you are a cloth-eared dunce. Sorry, but it’s true. Goldfish, with “When We Come Together”:
2) This, on the other hand, is a great song by a band called Bad Lamps. The video, made by some random off the internet, features what I think is a whole host of clips from porn movies, strung together to accompany the song. There’s no nudity whatsoever, and there’s something weirdly poignant about seeing the nonsex elements of bongo movies:
3) This song about smoking has a fair bit of Johnny Cash’s ‘Boy Named Sue’ about it, which is no bad thing, and the video is very Terry Gilliam / Monty Python-esque, which is also good. Made me really want a tab:
4) Loom is a jaw-dropping piece of animation. Probably not great if you’re an arachnophobe, mind:
6) PHEW, THAT WAS A BIT MUCH WASN’T IT? Let’s come down with this, by Black Light Dinner Party. It will make you want to be a New York hipster, just a little bit. Older Together:
7) I have no idea who this girl is, but her endearingly inept (and very, very sweary) cover of ODB’s “Got Your Money” has made her my new favourite internet person. I bet she’d be THRILLED to know that:
It’s a remote control plane, THAT LOOKS LIKE A SUPERHERO. Amazing. Want one:
9) To close, this week’s eyemeltingly strange video of the week – there’s a point in this that genuinely makes me shudder each time I watch it. ENJOY!!!!