Nylon: An Oral History Of The Mid-2000s Scene Queens. “Myspace was the creation of a mysterious man known simply as Tom, but by then, it was clear who really ruled the site. This was the era when the Scene Queens were at the top of the world — or, at least, at the top of your Top 8. They controlled the blogosphere with a heavy-hand of eyeliner and a searing hot flatiron, mingling offline with some of the era’s biggest bands, effectively making them the objects of obsession on LiveJournal and beyond. And then, just as quickly as Ryan Ross left Panic! at the Disco, they all but disappeared from the mainstream — or did they?”
BBC: China to clamp down on internet giants. “China has proposed new regulations aimed at curbing the power of its biggest internet companies. The regulations suggest increasing unease in Beijing with the growing influence of digital platforms. The new rules could affect homegrown tech giants like Alibaba, Ant Group and Tencent, as well as food delivery platform Meituan.”
Oregon Historical Society: Beached Whale Blow-Up: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Florence Exploding Whale. “On the morning of November 12, 1970, KATU news directors asked reporter Paul Linnman and cameraman Doug Brazil to cover an unusual story taking place on the Oregon coast. A 45-foot sperm whale had washed up on the beach near Florence, Oregon, a few days prior, and the Oregon Highway Division was left to come up with a plan on how best to deal with 8 tons of rotting whale flesh. What caught the attention of the news room in Portland, however, was not the whale itself but the plan of how to best dispose of the carcass: dynamite.” The subsequent video is one of the early viral videos of Internet culture and is why I’m including it here.
New York Times: How 2020 Changed the Internet. “In this long (and still ongoing) election season in America, there are two things I have learned about the internet companies through which many of us experience the world. First, Facebook, Google and the rest have reluctantly embraced their role as our gatekeepers to information, and there’s likely no going back. Second, so much about how these gatekeepers exercise their power remains unknown to the rest of us.”
Los Angeles Times: ‘Baby Shark’ takes a bite of ‘Despacito’s’ record as most-viewed YouTube video . “‘Baby Shark’ just swam away with a tasty YouTube record, making chum of Luis Fonsi’s 2017 hit ‘Despacito’ as the platform’s most-viewed video of all time. No doubt thanks to little sharks who repeatedly demand viewing of the colorful, choreographed hit.”
99% Invisible: The Lost Cities of Geo. “Because David [Bohnett] ran an internet company, his business depended on users having some grasp of what the internet was. So it was his challenge to get people comfortable on the web. And one day in 1994, it just came to him. His hosting site didn’t need a technological innovation, it needed a conceptual one. Users needed a new way of navigating the web. So he sketched out a plan to make his website feel more like a real neighborhood.”
Art in America: Experimental Art Unlimited. “In 1996, several years before the appearance of either Discogs (launched November 2000) or Wikipedia (launched January 2001), New York artist-turned-writer Kenneth Goldsmith created UbuWeb, an online archive of avant-garde art and literature, historic and contemporary, largely focusing on time-based mediums such as film, video, and audio (the last term encompassing lectures and poetry readings as well as music and sound art). Although far smaller than Discogs or Wikipedia, UbuWeb has had an enormous impact on the contemporary art world by making available to artists, scholars, and teachers around the world thousands of works that would otherwise be difficult if not impossible to access.”
BuzzFeed News: Watching TikToks Makes Me Hopeful About The Future. “I’ve interviewed dozens of teens and young adults who fall within the Gen Z cohort, born between the late ‘90s and the early ‘00s. And every time, I’m consistently and pleasantly surprised by the maturity, authority, and care they speak with, oftentimes with more empathy and insight than the adults I talk to. Their TikToks cover political extremism, and racial justice, and the nuances of anti-trans prejudice. They’re never thrown off when I ask for their pronouns and embrace a fluidity in their identities that stems not from uncertainty, but from a very grounded confidence that it’s OK to change and grow.”
BBC: Quest Sprout: ‘The most wholesome thing on the internet’. “Among the horror and the misery of this year, one tiny round hero has emerged to give thousands of people brief moments of joy. That hero is Quest Sprout.”
The Next Web: More than 50% of humans in the world use social media — here’s what you need to know . “More than 4 billion people around the world now use social media each month, and an average of nearly 2 million new users are joining them every day. The world is spending more time on social media too, with the typical user now spending roughly 15% of their waking life using social platforms.”
EurekAlert: Internet connectivity is oxygen for research and development work. “Fast and reliable internet access is fundamental for research and development activity around the world. Seamless connectivity is a privilege we often take for granted. But in developing nations, technological limitations can become stumbling blocks to efficient communication and cause significant disadvantages.”
ZDNet: Yahoo Groups to shut down for good on December 15, 2020. “Yahoo Groups, one of the last vestiges of the old Yahoo web properties, will shut down on December 15, 2020, when Verizon plans to take the groups.yahoo.com website offline for good.” Thanks to Lucas L. for the heads-up.
Arizona State University: Breakdown on the information highway. “Since March, millions of people have worked from home. Now that it’s fall, millions of children are learning from home. Many of them are learning that their internet service is not what’s depicted in the ads, where smiling people stream, use Zoom, shop, and surf. Instead, their lot has been to gaze, at first in fury and now with resignation, at the spinning wheel of death. Constant internet outages have obviously been exacerbated by a situation no one saw coming, namely millions migrating to working at home due to the pandemic.”
The Next Web: From Yahoo! Pipes to Zapier: A brief history of web app automation. “In 2020, just about everyone has used — or at least heard of — apps like Zapier, IFTTT, and Integromat, or at least used built-in automation tools and workflow builders inside apps like Slack. For many businesses, automation is a non-optional investment. If they want to compete in their industry, then automation is a must. But how did we get there? How exactly has business process automation evolved? When did it take over the workplace? And what’s next, now that seemingly every app has automation built-in?”
Mashable: What Apple, Google, and Amazon’s websites looked like in 1999. “The year was 1999: Cher’s ‘Believe’ was blasting on pop radio stations, Bill Clinton was impeached, Jar Jar Binks hit the Big Screen, and the beep, beep, static of dial-up internet echoed in family rooms across the globe. The World Wide Web was still young then — gawky, awkward, and painfully slow. The dotcom bubble was still growing, on the cusp of bursting. The public had been using the internet for under a decade and those making online content (before we even called it content en masse) were often just throwing stuff at the wall.”