Recently, Facebook announced that they will be implementing hashtags on their site. Why are they doing this? Hashtags have been a missed business opportunity for Facebook. They enable brands to steer live conversations and are extremely powerful during events such as the Super Bowl or awards shows. Twitter is the pioneer of cashing in on the promoted hashtag business and Facebook has realized that they want in. Facebook is also most likely in the process of commercializing hashtags on Instagram (a Facebook purchase) and combining both social media networks. Hashtags will enhance Facebook’s real-time commenting with brands who are organizing live events.
Reasons for skepticism in regards to the success of hashtags on Facebook:
1. Facebook is a closed network:
The content on Facebook is not open to search engines such as Google and Yahoo. You can post something, but no one will be able to search it. Everything shared on the social media site is held within “The Great Facebook Barrier” as I like to call it. This is the reason that so many brands have made fan pages and are becoming more and more active within the network- they need a stronger presence within Facebook’s closed network.
The reason hashtags work so well on Twitter is because most users in that social network have an open account. Facebook is a different environment where users have to accept who they allow into their circles. A successful hashtag experience also requires an open network in pulling from various social networks such as Google+, Twitter, Vine, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Facebook already pulls information from your personal Pinterest and Instagram accounts but, it would now have to combine all of this information and group them into hashtags. For brands, this definitely creates added value, but do consumers really want their entire online activity to be featured within Facebook?
2. The Facebook algorithm feed is curated:
Facebook made changes to its algorithm last year, which essentially ranks paid content higher on your live feed rather than organic posts from your friends. Public figures and brands are encouraged to pay in order to rank their posts higher than everyone else’s in your feed. Adding hashtags to the feed will be another source of income, encouraging paid promotions by other brands. Brands and/or users will be asked to pay for hash tag content.
3. Users go on Facebook to interact with their friends, not to look for news content:
The main purpose of Facebook is to catch up with your social network. Users go on it to talk to their friends and to stay in touch. If they want to search for news stories, they would go to sites like the Huffington Post or Yahoo! News. Because of the casual, friendly environment of Facebook, I see it as doubtful that users would be ready to have branded hash tags in addition to the promotional posts that are already included in their news feeds. With all of this extra content, it may deter users from even using Facebook because it could be “clogging up” their news feeds.
4. Is Facebook losing its “cool factor?”
Facebook might be encouraged to adopt hashtags due to a recent trend growing among the younger Facebook user demographic- boycotting Facebook (or at least limiting their interaction with it). For this younger demographic, there are concerns of privacy (many parents and older family member watching what you’re up to), there is constant spam from brands and their promoted posts, as well as too many people they are “friends” with but in actuality, do not even know or are concerned about anymore. Because of these issues within Facebook, this younger demographic is spending more and more time on Instagram (a prime example behind Facebook’s purchase of the network), Twitter and Tumblr. With the implementation of hashtags on Facebook may come the integration of all big social media sites (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).
It will be interesting to observe the results of this. I have a feeling that hashtags will end up being tailored mainly for marketers, which will create additional spam on the social network, hence a potentially deeper exodus from the platform. What is your opinion about hashtags on Facebook?
Ever since my trip to Asia, my perspective of New York has changed. In the last few years, NYC has become a tech mecca that’s able to rival Silicon Valley. It’s bubbling with young entrepreneurs who are hungry to save the world and it’s certainly a refreshing change of pace. But lately I’ve been wondering if there’s too much saturation in metropolitan cities and maybe the solution is that some of the tech talent could venture to other locations to help save our economy. Would it make more sense for someone with my skill set to help individuals in other up and coming communities? Shouldn’t professionals like us help these cities by creating new economies and sources of income?
Do we really need more Fashion and geo-location apps? A bulk of the industry is competing in very similar areas and they might be better off in completely different surroundings faced with real problems and their practical solutions. A perfect example – I grew up in Miami and every time I go back I’m astonished at the lack of infrastructure down there. Can Miami continue to survive only on tourism and service based industries? Florida was severely affected by the recession, so it seems like diversifying their income stream would definitely benefit them in the long run. So as Tech Entrepreneurs how can we help these other communities? As an innovative DIY tech generation couldn’t we learn the challenges and understand their dynamics to create new ways for individuals to generate revenue? I think so.
The main idea behind it is if you have an online business or technology skills you can offer your services from anywhere around the US or the world, and with our current economy crumbling doesn’t it make sense to utilize our skills to create our own alternative economy? These are the types of questions I’ve really been pondering lately. Let’s face it – with technology, collaborating around the world is as easy as connecting to a Wi-Fi network, and there are endless opportunities to expand our global reach from any home base we set our sights on. What are your thoughts? Would we be more productive if we went to our original cities or suburbs to help these communities?
Carri Munden, the designer behind the avant garde streetwear brand Cassette Playa, writes a weekly blog for Vice Style and she recently talked about visiting New York City and seeing the Cindy Sherman Retrospective at MOMA. Munden discussed at length the impact Sherman has had not only on her own perspective on culture, but also the arts in general. So much of Sherman’s work is concerned with the idea of persona and a chameleonic identity that can be completely changed and altered through makeup, fashion, and specific stylistic cues. Sherman’s use of photography has anticipated so many different cultural trends and movements, including the ever-changing culture of the online world.
Munden’s blog sets up an almost linear evolution of both Sherman’s work over the years and how its influence has predicted different facets of the arts. From the ganguro trend of Japanese street culture where girls tan their skin and dye their hair blonde as an exaggerated version of common hip hop tropes, to Ryan Trecartin’s absurdly decorated, but oddly contemporary caricatures in his films that embody post-human persona and identity transformations. Even Tumblr culture stars like Molly Soda and bon vivant Lady Gaga are also referenced in retaining at least some her influence. Whether or not it’s purposeful they definitely both owe something to Sherman’s aesthetic, where both Tumblr and Gaga have a distinct focus on transformation, cultural identity, and the ability to utilize culture to create and elaborate on an infinite number of personas.
Munden’s own aesthetic for her label Cassette Playa also completely embodies Sherman’s idea of modern day dress up and subverting fashion and design culture to create any persona you can conjure up. Cassette Playa’s clothing is very often a complex pastiche of some of the best in vintage and one-off fashion trends completely altered into a one of a kind style that simultaneously encompasses familiar trends of the past while evoking an entirely alien futuristic feel.
One of the most prevalent examples of Sherman’s influence really lies in the world of Tumblr culture and online personas. So much of her vantage point and aesthetic is found in the creation of characters through makeup, fashion, and design which seamlessly translates to the current world of Social Media. Sherman creates these photographs to comment on what encompasses identity and how easily we can be manipulated through how culture is presented, which is exactly what’s become commonplace on Tumbler and Social Media in general. As Munden puts it Sherman basically invented the GPOY, or “Gratuitous Picture Of Yourself”, except her photos are purposefully imitating cultural norms and satirizing their aesthetic and expectations, while the current version achieves the same effect without actually realizing it’s become a parody of itself.
This week Facebook went public with a record $104 billion dollar IPO offering that’s sure to solidify their future success. A lot of industry experts worry that this might be the second coming of the late 90s tech bubble, but so far Social Media is garnering a substantial payday on Wall Street. Another interesting article on Facebook this week is from The New York Times about the trend of not flaunting wealth in Silicon Valley, which seems like a perspective that’s shared by the entire tech industry.
After another recent round of additional $100 million dollar financing, the Visual Social Media platform Pinterest is now valued at over $1.5 billion dollars. It recently crossed the 20 million user mark and that’s a massive increase from only one million users as of July 2011. It’s nowhere near the recent record breaking Facebook offering, but it looks likely it could be purchased by one of the tech giants the same way Instagram was recently acquired by Facebook.
This is a really interesting piece in The New York Times about the next tech start-ups with the most potential. Everything from file sharing sites like DropBox, mobile payment apps like Square, and even Uber, an instantaneous private car reservation app are all featured in the article. These are definitely some of the best tech upstarts and new companies to look out for in the coming year.
Internet Week kicked off this week in New York City and immediately became a must-go destination for anyone who wants to see the future of technology and what tech trends that’ll become popular in the coming year. Everything from conferences and guest speakers to parties, social events, and even the 2012 Webby awards which are presented for the best web has to offer are all part of Internet Week, which ends this weekend on Sunday May 21st. Check out Ad Week’s coverage for the best highlights and must see events from Internet Week.
This week Animal Collective announced their new album Centipede Hz will be released in September on Domino as the follow-up to their critically acclaimed Merriweather Post Pavaillion, which was at the top of everyone’s best of the year list in 2009. Centipede Hz seems like a return to AnCo’s more expansive jam band sound as evidenced in two new tracks “Honeycomb” and Gotham” that were also released this week. Check out this interview on Pitchfork with AnCo member Dave Portner (Avey Tare) on the making of the new album.
IDM and Drum & Bass forefather Squarepusher makes a return this week with his new album Ufabulum which mixes a lot of modern production touches with his signature jagged drum patterns and carnival gone mad buzzsaw synths. He’s always been known for his erratic but oddly controlled sound and his new album definitely doe not disappoint; even fans of EDM and Corey Feldman lookalike Skrillex might enjoy his new tracks, with their glitchy warbles and stadium sized rave-era synth lines. Check out the interview in FACT Mag with Squarepusher on the making of his new record and his feature in XLR8R about his five favorite classic jungle and drum & bass tunes.
Odd Future has almost become the de facto Internet rap group over the last year or so and they recently translated their mischief and merriment mentality to their amazing Adult Swim late night show Loiter Squad. Their show just got picked up for a second season which solidifies another round of their signature style of Jackass style pranks, Tim & Eric esque parodies, and all around musically-tinged debauchery. Even if you’re not quite a fan of their music, this show is really a must see.
Tons of new cutting edge female MCs have been releasing music recently, and Azealia Banks might just have the most talent of all of them. She’s gone from Harlem to performing in Karl Lagerfeld’s Parisian living room and then back to NYC playing the Met Gala draped in Alexander Wang. On top of that her musical output is brimming with new releases: her full length album is dropping in the Fall, her 1991 EP drops May 29th, and her mixtape Fantastic comes outon July 4th. Listen to this new Fantastic cut “Jumanji” with steller cross-genre production from Hudson Mohawke; it sounds the best Nicki Minaj mixtape track Nicki never made, and the HudMo beat really takes it to another level.
9. New El-P Album and Performance on Late Show with David Letterman
El-P is probably one of the most legendary experimental rappers and producers and on May 22nd he’s gearing up to release his new record Cancer4Cure on Fat Possum, but you can already stream it in it’s entirety over at Rolling Stone. El-P is known for his stream of consciousness rhymes and Mad Max post-apocalyptic soundscapes and his new album is a perfect example of the evolution of his hard-edged sci-fi sound. Check out the video of the album cut “Stay Down” he performed on Late Show with David Letterman this week and a great piece from Fader on El-P’s production style in making his new album.
Wylie Dufresneis known in the foodie world as one of the original molecular gastronomy innovators in the States and this month he look his bold and daring recipes one step further and created an entirely new tasting menu overflowing with his out of this world signature dishes. Molecular gastronomy is known as one of the true avant garde facets of modern cuisine and Dufresne never disappoints with his original takes on classic dishes and wtf combinations that make so much sense on your palette, but sound outlandish in their conception. The New York Times did a great piece and interview with Dufresne on the new menu and the unorthodox methods behind his madness.
11. Community premieres 8-bit Finale Episode “Digital Estate Planning”
Last night’s amazing finale episode of Community, “Digital Estate Planning”, was probably the first time that an entire primetime show took place inside of a fully rendered video game. Almost the entire episode was in a classic Nintendo style 8-bit universe where the show’s signature characters controlled avatars of themselves on a quest to win an inheritance from Pierce’s father. As always on Community, there were so many inside jokes, throwaway gags, and hyper-astute satirical jabs, and this episode was a special gift for video game fans with a non-stop barrage of inside gamer humor. A.V. Club has a great in-depth review of all the episodes from last night’s three part Community finale.
I’m intrigued to see what the fuss is really all about; not only did it get selected for inclusion in this year’s Sundance, but it’s also premiering June 25th on HBO. I’m especially curious since it seems the style of the doc is a somewhat scattered collection of his Youtube videos, response videos, and other miscellaneous Croker material.
Overall I feel kind of conflicted about the idea of a Chris Crocker comeback. On one hand, his interview with V Magazine made it seem like he has some substance and an interesting perspective of what it’s like to be gay and growing up in Tennessee. But on the other hand, while watching his YouTube videos, he also seems extremely narcissistic – me, me, me and more me.
A lot of his content and persona pertains more to the early Social Media internet famous era, when Facebook was still a new platform and most of our time was spent on either YouTube, Blogs, or MySpace. But with a fanbase of 100,000 Twitter followers and over 253 million YouTube views, he’s isn’t completely irrelevant and is well respected within the gay community.
So the real question becomes is he a genius or just another Internet fame whore attempting a comeback? I guess only time will tell. The only commentary and reflection I have is that it seems like the online world is quickly dividing itself between the content producers and the watchers and how your status quo is only based on how many followers you have.
Which really got me thinking — who was Internet Famous in 2007 and where are they today? I found a Forbes List of the top 25 Web Celebs of 2007, and it’s definitely a mixed bag compared to the current top stars of the web. Some are still around and popular like Perez Hilton, but most of their Internet buzz quickly faded away to make room for the next overnight meme.
1. New App lets you Communicate through Animated Images
A new app for iPhones called MotionPhone was recently released that allows people to communicate through animated images instead of voice or text. The app allows you to create and design your own abstract animated images which can then be shared with your friend’s images to create new and endless animated combinations. It’s definitely an innovative way of using mobile techonology to communicate in a very unorthodox fashion.
The Apple rumor mill never stops churning out new stories. According to the Huffington Post, when the new iPhone 5 is launched it’ll be made of a liquid metal alloy casing instead of glass, it’ll be 4G LTE compatible, and 0.44 millimeters thinner then the iPhone 4S, which definitely makes it seem like an entirely new design, versus the interim changes on previous models.
3. YouTube Now Offers Over 100 Channels of Original Programming
In a move to compete with the online offerings of Hulu and Netflix, YouTube recently launched over 100 channels of original programming. The content ranges in every category you can think of; home improvement, science queries, music / TV / entertainment news, and even something called “American Hipster” which is probably amazing and leaves you befuddled at the same time. There are probably tons of unusual gems among the content; a good bulk of the programming was culled from the more successful channels that were on YouTube before the original programming launch.
4. Mobile Lorm Glove Allows the Deaf and Blind to Communicate Through Mobile Technology
The Mobile Lorm is an amazing form of technology that allows deaf and blind people to communicate through mobile devices. The Glove itself relies on Lorm, which is a tactile signing language that’s then transferred to sensors on the glove which is then translated to a mobile device and converted into speech or a text message. It even allows the user to send and receive text messages through the glove. It’s definitely a huge advancement in bringing the world of mobile tech and communication to the disabled.
Science and Singles became an unlikely combination recently with the launch of Pheromone Parties. It’s a social event where you bring a T-Shirt you’ve worn for three days prior without washing it in a plastic bag and then everyone smells the shirts to determine who they should be matched with. It sounds kind of odd at first, but maybe it makes more sense then meeting potential suitors based on eHarmony algorithms.
“Wavvy” is the first track from Mykki Blanco’s upcoming mixtape Cosmic Angel and if the rest of it sounds anything like this, it’ll be one of the most raw and next level releases out this year. Blanco is a cross dressing performer that’s part of a new quasi-movement of gay rappers that are making some of the most innovative rap music out right now. Also check out the interview Pitchfork did with Blanco and other artists about their new perspective on hip hop and how they’re changing the genre.
iamamiwhoami created a huge mystique around her identity through her beautiful but cryptic viral videos and atmospheric sounds. Eventually her identity was revealed as musician Jonna Lee, but it didn’t detract at all from the amazing project and tracks. She released a new video this week for the song “Idle Talk” and it’s just as mesmerizing as the other vids in her iamamiwhoami catalogue.
Cassie is one of those artists that has such a huge cult-following that every time she releases a track, even if its years between them, the entire blogosphere turns to shambles. Her most recent club ready junt “King of Hearts” got the amazing Kanye West remix treatment a few weeks ago, and now Richard X, who’s worked with Annie and M.I.A., has also remixed it into a 4 on the floor club thumper with tons of murky synths stuttering under Cassie’s saccharine vocals. If Diddy ever gets around to releasing her second album, bloggers will positively implode with excitement.
9. Pitchfork Article: Social Media and the Influx of Music Writing
This is an interesting article from Pitchfork’s extremely well written and always astute Resonant Frequency column that discusses how the influx of music writing, mostly due to Social Media and web culture, has changed our opinions and how we think about music. The author Mark Richardson brings up some really interesting points about the collective music critique culture online and how it changes and informs our own perspectives on music.
10. New Interactive Animal Collective Website Recreates Guggenheim Installation
Animal Collective has just launched a new website that seeks to recreate their 2010 Guggenheim Installation accompanied by music from their recent Record Store Day Limted release Transverse Temporal Gyrus. By combining video and images by artist Danny Perez, and the signature atmospherics and otherworldly sounds Animal Collective is known for, the website is probably the closest thing to seeing one of the world’s most experimental bands take over an entire Frank Lloyd Wright architectural landmark.
Death Grips new album The Money Store was released this week and it’s an unreal almost indefinable sound; its nonstop abrasive noise and industrial elements with earworm synths and guttural rap vocals. The most interesting aspect is it was released by the major label Epic and they were signed by L.A. Reid, who famously also signed Outkast to their first record deal. They don’t have a lot in common as far as their sound, but they’re both similar in being completely experimental within the rap genre. Also check out the interview Pitchfork did with Death Grips member Zach Hill, who’s also a member of Hella and Boredoms. He gives some insight on the philosophy and sound behind the group.
Purity Ring, along with Sleep ∞ Over, have perfected the art of hazy atmospherics and dream-gaze synths over half-cooed vocals. Their new single “Obedear” is the perfect evolution of their sound with an electro-backbeat and woozy infectious synth lines. “Obedear” is the first single off their forthcoming debut album which comes out via 4AD on July 24.
Planet Mu has almost become the de facto record label for popularizing juke and footwork music in England and all over Europe. Traxman is their latest artist that really represents the culture and roots of juke and ghetto house for the seminal label started by idm godfather Mike Paradinas. Also check out Traxman’s recent FACT mix for a essential primer on juke and footwork, and their earlier incarnations ghetto house and ghetto tech in a masterfully put together set.
14. Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule “Life and Death” A.V. Club Review
John C. Reilly has inhabited a diverse array of characters over the years but Dr Steve Brule is probably the most engrossing and absolutely bewildering of them all. Just watching a single episode of Check It Out! could leave you befuddled for days. A.V. Club writer Brandon Nowalk does a really great review of the second season episode “Life and Death” that really hones in on some of the influences and stylistic elements of the show.
15. Grimes plays “Genesis” on Later with Jools Holland
Indie darling Grimes recently played her track “Genesis” on the British late night show Later with Jools Holland and gave an amazing performance that keeps reminding listeners why her 4AD album Visions is one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year. It’s an enchanted and intimate performance that really brings the track to life.
Weeks after the massive fanfare for Tupac’s digital return to Coachella, TLC announced that Left Eye will join them on their upcoming reunion tour. The details are still up in the air whether it’ll be similar technology to the Tupac performance, or if they’ll use archival footage, but it’s definitely an interesting concept that’ll defeintely be a big draw for their upcoming tour.
17. P’Trique Tells Everyone About Charlotte Free’s New Gig
P’Trique and a gaggle of fashion’s who’s who star in this campy viral vid as they play telephone spreading the word about model Charlotte Free’s new gig with Maybelline. Everyone from Betsey Johnson to RHONY’s favorite yenta Jill Zarin makes hilarious cameos.
The Internet and Social Media have both completely revolutionized not only how culture is shared but also how it’s defined. There are subcultures and micro-movements online that never would have existed if it wasn’t for instantaneous file sharing and the ease of use of media production software. All of the creative realms have been affected by web culture, but it seems like this transformation has had the most impact on music; entirely new sub-genres have come into existence that may never have happened if it wasn’t for Internet culture.
One of the main reasons the Internet has spawned so many sub-genres in the last few years is due to the ease of diverse cultural exploration that was so much harder to accomplish before the advent of Social Media. Previously one of the of the only ways to learn about obscure sub-genres was through magazines or actually having an in and traveling to these places to get a glimpse of the local underground bubbling artists. The Internet made it possible for anyone to become an expert on any micro-genre; their geographic proximity, affiliations, and demographics became secondary to having a thirst for new and innovative music. Someone in a small town in the Midwest could realistically know more about what’s happening in Brooklyn music then people actually living in Brooklyn. This removal of cultural barriers is one of the main catalysts in the expansion of Internet born genres.
The most famous or possibly infamous example is probably chillwave, a genre coined by the Hipster Runoff satire impresario Carles around late 2009 while reviewing some new tracks by Washed Out. He listed around twenty absurd genre names in trying to frame this new sound and chillwave was definitely the one that stuck. From there the meta-genre of chillwave spread like wildfire all over the web; Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and even The Wall Street Journal all did chillwave pieces that sought to identify it while at the same time questioning the validity of a genre half-jokingly invented by a blogger. Chillwave echoed a central quality of most Internet genres by being focused around a distinct sound, style, and aesthetic instead of geography, which is the main way most genres originate. By not having a central location or scene affiliated with the genre, artists were able to experiment and cultivate the sound at their leisure while collaborating with an eclectic blend of influences from around the globe.
That’s probably one of the most interesting aspects of its conception and of Internet music genres in general; it’s a cultural construct that has concrete origins but is more indebted to experimentation because it doesn’t rely on real world interaction to expand. As Pitchfork talked about in their chillwave dissection piece, chillwave’s actual origins really go back to the dreamy idyllic sounds of Boards of Canada, an early Warp Records ambient-idm forefather of sorts, and more recently to the 2007 solo album Person Pitch by Panda Bear. That’s what separates chillwave and a lot of other Internet conceived genres from conventional music evolution; the basis and style of their sound already existed in some form or another, but Carles was able to frame it and meta-brand it for an Internet audience that quickly latched onto the idea, and were able to expand on it’s model in any direction based on their individual culture and surroundings.
Electronic music is probably one of the best examples of a genre that’s extremely fertile for experimentation and Internet mutations. The majority of electronic genres are usually defined by their drum pattern, tempo, and the synthesizers and drum machines that are utilized, so any unique combination of these original elements can easily give way to a new sound. There are tons of new electronic artists from the last few years that are taking established electronic sub-genres and combining them into a new mass of indefinable genres.
An artist like Nguzunguzu takes the best aspects of bass music, juke, footwork, bmore, ghetto tech, r&b, and southern rap and completely Cuisinarts them until they sound entirely different then the original genres while still retaining the core elements that make those sounds so intriguing in the first place. The Internet has completely expanded the palettes of electronic musicians who can easily find everything they need to know about brand new sub-genres through a simple YouTube or Soundcloud search. Labels like Night Slugs and Planet Mu are taking the last twenty years of electronic music and completely transforming them into amazing new permutations. Mike Paradinas, aka the legendary idm artist U-ziq, and label-head of Planet Mu, has been one of the largest supporters of footwork and juke music, which are sub-genres born in Chicago that evolved from ghetto house and ghetto tech.
That’s one of the most amazing aspects of Internet genres and how music has evolved through Social Media and web culture; an English musician like Paradinas is almost single-handedly responsible for the promotion of an obscure American sub-genre that might have never become as popular in England and Europe if it wasn’t for his label. The Internet creates an atmosphere of cross pollination that consistently encourages new forms of cultural experimentation; if this is what music sounds like in the early 2010’s you can only imagine what amazing new genres will exist by the end of the decade.
Mobile computing and smart phones have seen some of the largest innovations in the last few years in the different ways they’re utilizing augmented reality technology. There are so many interactive ways a smart phone or tablet can be used and the app market expands into different areas on almost a daily basis. We’re going to list a few of the most innovative augmented reality apps on the market and how they’re changing the world of interactive mobile technology.
Blippar is a mobile augmented reality app that really takes the idea of QR codes to another level. Whenever you see a Blippar logo, whether it’s on a TV ad, product, magazine, or billboard, you just simply open the app up and the augmented reality interaction seamlessly emerges. Depending on the product, there are tons of different varieties and ways for a company to utilize the app, from 3D interactive advertisements, to games, movie trailers, and contests; almost anything you could imagine. One of the most interesting uses was for a Heinz ketchup bottle that unfurls a 3D recipe book when the Blippar app is initiated. A lot of the uses for Blippar are similar to the QR codes that have become commonplace, but there’s a new level of interaction available that really sets it apart, and in the future there will be even a wider range of scenarios where Blippar will convert any stale 2D advertisement into a fully interactive experience. Another use for it could even be demographic specific ads that differ based on who’s using the application, which could create an entirely new range of micro-focused ads. Blippar is available for both the iOS and Android platforms.
Word Lens is an augmented reality app that translates any printed text from French or Spanish to English and vice versa. In real time you can point your camera at any text and it’ll give you the translation, while also matching the font, color, and perspective of the text, and then remapping it onto the image. For anyone traveling or doing business in foreign countries. Word Lens is a must-have app that would bring an ease of use to even the most difficult tasks, and it even works without being connected to the Internet, which really increases the variety of locations you can use it in. Imagine going to Spain or France and every street sign or map you encounter is instantly translated into English; it would almost make a tour guide and or even a translator obsolete. Asking for directions or trying to understand a menu would be a thing of the past. Right now there are only dictionaries for French and Spanish to English (and vice versa), but in the future as the company expands their translation and dictionaries into other countries you could literally travel the world or do business anywhere and still feel right at home. Word Lens is available for the iOS platform.
Google Goggles is an image recognition app that allows you to do searches based on real world photographs you take with your handheld device. By taking pictures of objects, places, product barcodes, or almost anything you can take a picture of, Google Goggles takes this info and gives you a detailed search about the item. It takes the best aspects of the Google search engine and translates it into a real world object based experience; it’s basically an entirely way different way of searching without using text or speech recognition. Google has even collaborated with The Metropolitan Museum of Art so you can use the app on anything in the museum to immediately learn more about it. Google Goggles is available for both the iOSand Android platforms.
Google eventually wants to turn Google Goggles into its own platform, similar to Google Maps, with an API in the works to allow outside developers to create their own apps based on it. Amazon has a similar app called Amazon Flow that allows you to take a picture of any item that can be found on Amazon to immediately check its availability or to order it. Google Goggles definitely has a much wider range of uses then Amazon Flow, but they’re both great examples of the future of real world image recognition apps. Amazon Flow is available on the iOS platform.
Google Goggles will eventually become another layer to the Google Glasses that are currently in development, which is an augmented reality headset that projects information about people, objects, and locations on a 3D plane as you interact with them in real time. Google Goggles and Google Glasses, along with Find My Face (which is facial recognition software that you can use in Google + to scan photos, find friends and suggest tags based on their faces), will eventually all be working in tandem to create a seamless fully immersive experience; it’ll be like a 3D Social Network within reality as you actually network. They’ll completely redefine how we interact with technology as they transform our real world.
As one of the founders of GHE20 GOTH1K, Venus X has merged diverse underground cultures in a seamless blend that’s become one of the most forward thinking and next level parties in NYC nightlife. Check out this interview with her in The New York Times for some background about her style and unique take on current music culture.
Le1f’s new mixtape Dark York is an amazing blend of crazy call and response rhymes over some of the best production in electronic music right now including tons of bass heavy beats by Nguzunguzu. Check out his mixtape streaming on Soundcloud, and download it next week on Das Racist’s record label Greedhead.
Out of the tons of noteworthy performances last weekend from Coachella, all anyone is talking about was the Tupac hologram performing with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. No matter how you feel about it, it really brings up interesting questions about the future of music performance and touring.
Rustie is one of the most amazing young producers in electronic music right now and his new BBC Essential Mix is the perfect introduction to his manic a hundred synths and genres a minute style. You’ll hear tons of exclusive unreleased tracks mixed in with the illest southern rap junts and everything in between. Also, check out the Pitchfork article “Maximal Nation” for an interesting breakdown of Rustie’s style and how it fits into current electronic music trends.
Another week another unbelievable Mel Gibson rant has leaked to the web. You almost have to hear it just to believe it, and especially when you read the Joe Eszterhas letter that explains in intricate detail the exact scenarios behind the rants, it’s a beyond wtf scenario you almost couldn’t even make up if you wanted too.
Facebook Purchases Instagram for $1 Billion Dollars
One of the biggest stories in the tech world this week was Facebook’s purchasing of Instagram for $1 billion dollars. Even though that number was double the amount of Instagram’s recent financial evaluation, Facebook still thought it was worth the price with over 5 million photos being uploaded to Instagram on a daily basis. People are already crying foul about their favorite app getting the corporate treatment, and only time will tell exactly how Facebook is going to utilize Instagram in the future.
Kraftwerk, who are considered one of the most legendary and influential electronic groups of all time, finished up their 8 night residency at MOMA this week and original member Ralf Hütter gave a rare interview with The New York Times discussing the group’s legacy and what you can expect from them in the future.
Since the mid-2000s Chromatics have been perfecting their amazing blend of neo-italo disco sounds coupled with icy John Carpenter synths and subtly emotive vocals. Their new album Kill for Love was released at the end of last month and it’s quickly become one of the most sought after and critcally acclaimed albums of the year. Check out the interview with Chromatics mastermind Johnny Jewel on how he developed his group’s retro but still surprisingly modern sound.
It’s been building for a while and it culminated this week with the purchasing of Instagram; the inevitable Facebook backlash is upon us. Recent studies also show that Social Media and Facebook could actually be making us lonely instead of bringing us together as the initial intention behind Social Media. This article from The Atlantic looks into the interesting phenomenon of how Social Media and Facebook affects loneliness.
10. New Online Dating Site Tawkify uses Klout Scores to make matches
Online dating has been given a Social Media twist with the new dating site Tawkify that incorporates your Klout scores into fixing you up with other singles. Its part matchmaking, part Social Media, and an entirely new techie way to link up potential romantic matches.
For the last few years Hipster Runoff has been the de facto leader in criticizing hipster and internet culture through an amazing lens of half joking / half serious / half none of the above. The anonymous creator and writer for the site Carles is as much of an Internet construct as the topics he covers. He’s never revealed his true identity, although there are plenty of online theories. He was interviewed by The Village Voice in 2009 and it really ended up creating more questions then it answered.
Part of the allure of the satire Hipster Runoff specializes in is the mystique surrounding the writer, who could possibly be perpetuating one of the most elaborate ruses in Internet history. Hipster Runoff started out as a music critic blog, but over the years expanded its focus to popular culture, and the web culture. Very often the tone is very hard to pin down especially if you’re unfamiliar with the site or the concept behind it. It’s basically meta-satire in motion; the idea of poking fun at things through a voice that itself is purposefully imitating the very things that it’s satirizing.
Although the majority of (Hipster Runoff ) HRO content is satirical in nature, every once in a while Carles will write a post that’s an extremely astute take on the nature of Internet blogging and what actually drives the momentum of memes and disposable culture. One of the most interesting pieces that arose from the site, which garnered substantial press around the web, was Carles’ coverage and main thinkpiece about Lana Del Rey. In his post “Lana & Me: Our Dark, Abusive, Co-Dependent Relationship on the Content Farm” he critiqued the idea of blogs existing as empty vessels that need stories like the Del Rey backlash to simply fulfill “content farming” needs to perpetuate and invent stories to increase unique page views which only equate to more advertising revenue. The most interesting aspect of the post was the idea of Carles critiquing the motives of online music criticism while at the same he’s one of the largest culprits of embracing the empty notion of needing to invent content to maintain the success of a site.
Carles’ “Content Farm” post really brings up interesting cultural notions of exactly why these websites and platforms perpetuate certain stories over others. As he pointed out and displayed in an Alexa search query result, people were going to HRO just to see what new take he had on the entire Lana Del Rey backlash, instead of deriving their own opinion about her music, which is really the only reason she was known in the first place. A lot of websites and blogs put relevance on snark and being able to spin a story to maximize their SEO results, and even though Carles is a major facet of the content farm vantage point, at least he’s astute enough to identify the current online climate of blog scavengers combing the web for the next buzz sustenance to satisfy their audience. Carles knows that he perpetuates the idea of a content farm as much as any other blog, but it’s his take on the culture and self awareness to critique it that sets him apart from all the other sites.
Very often what Carles accomplishes feels very similar to what Stephen Colbert has mastered over the years. The persona he’s created is so convincing that it’s almost more realistic and authentic then the very stories and politics he covers. Colbert said in an interview with Rolling Stone that he always talks to his guests ahead of time and tells them to be prepared for his ridiculous line of questioning to make sure that they’re not offended by his absurd brand of punditry. Between his anonymity and extremely scant explanations on his perspective behind the site, Carles has created an entirely new level of satire that’s probably some of the most confounding and insightful critiques about the absurdity of online culture; by creating and writing for Hipster Runoff it’s almost become his own personal backlash on the entire online experience.