Tag Archives: blogging

Cute Overlord

Cute Overload’s calendar sold out in a day. We ask, what’s their secret?

The New York Times has a piece today on the furr-nomenon that is Cute Overload. The site has been an online antidote for our troubled times for a few years now (never underestimate the healing power of a baby panda!) and it’s good to see it monetising some of that appeal with a sell-out calendar. However, the article fails to mention Cute Overload’s vernacular of cute which we think is a core element of its success. Meg — who founded the site and does most of the writing — has constructed an almost Tolkien-esque language which regular readers will be able to decipher but which casual visitors may well struggle to understand. There is even a glossary to help readers out. For example, a post of a tiny kitten has the accompanying text:

TEEEEENY Caturday paw danglage

Puh-lease. Too, too moshe:

black and white?
miniscules and striped?
ear flappage and paw danglage?

This language is the glue of a ‘club of cute’ which drives the site’s popularity and makes for a hugely entertaining read. A similar tactic was once deployed by Perez Hilton before he vanilla-ed out for the sake of ad dollars (for example, the gleeful insult ‘whoreanus’ has been dropped). Celebrity snarking site GoFugYourself, however, continues to address its audience as a teenage confidante. To whit, a comment on a photo of Alice Dellal (no, me neither) which reads:

This is one of those photos that I would put in a 2008 time capsule, so that in 30 years people will go, “Ripped nylons as pants? Are you f’ing KIDDING ME?” And I’ll be like, “I KNOW, it didn’t make any sense THEN, EITHER, and yet it HAPPENED.”

Creating new languages and forms of expression, and giving import to supposedly trivial matters such as dress sense and the cuteness of furry things are just a few of the myriad ways in which bloggers are creating a new media. And this stuff really *talks* to us in a way that traditional media never has. It talks to us as fans, as politicos, as gossips, as snarks… as ourselves. And, of course, it’s a two way conversation.

Anyways… we’re off to buy our calendar. Later!

Picture of Iggi to compensate for never having made it onto the shiny lights of either Cute Overload or Stuffonmycat despite numerous attempts.

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The empire strikes back: TMZ.com

AOL Time Warner retaliates against the gossip bloggers with TMZ.

You’re a media empire but you’re losing hearts and minds to the blogsophere particularly in that ripe and juicy segment of the media known as gossip. You were used to breaking all the celebrity news (after all you had a direct ‘in’ to their people) but now bloggers like Perez Hilton are beating you to it. What do you do? Get your video-paparazzi (the secret weapon) and follow every d and z-lister until you get a money shot. And boy does it work. You even broke the Mel Gibson/anti-semitic drunken outburst story. Now those fiendish bloggers are linking to you and everything is right with the world. For now.

Our current clip of choice? DD-lister Tara Reid gets denied entry to a club whilst Paris Hilton glides by. Watch and marvel. Note to TMZ though. You need to get with the clip culture and give us a nice bit of hackable code (a la YouTube).

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Einsturzende Models

Models falling over…

What with all the ruckus over ‘fat’ models and terrorism-chic shoots, we thought we’d celebrate New York fashion week with another fashion silliness: models falling over. In our arse-over-tit gallery, some poor girl for Proenza Schouler this week and an iconic collapse, mobile phone warrior Naomi Campbell for Vivienne Westwood ten years earlier.

fallin-_model_2.jpgwestwood4.jpg

And — as we mentioned earlier — the bloggers have certainly earnt their keep at New York fashion week. Whilst the Proenza Schouler tumble has been airbrushed out of American Vogue online, blogger gloat has given the label a nice little spike on Technorati: see below for a graph which shows the number of blog posts that contain "proenza Schouler" per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart

With apologies to Einsturzende Neubauten.

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Blogging officially mainstream

The Sun newspaper launches war-zone blogs.

Rupert Murdoch’s Sun tabloid has taken blogging mainstream by running blogs from the Israeli and Lebanese frontlines.

The Sun says,

Sun correspondents will keep you up to date with the latest news and views on the Middle East crisis with blogs from the heart of Israel and Lebanon.

Our Chief Foreign Correspondent Nick Parker will post daily blogs for you from war-torn Beirut.

While our award-winning Chief Feature Writer Oliver Harvey is based in Israel as Islamic militants’ rockets rain down on the Jewish state.

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On Egg-vertising and blogs for peas

It’s been a while since we wrote anything about advertising — but these two efforts caught our eye.

peas.jpgFirst up — CBS in the States is advertising its new schedule on eggs. Yeah, right, whatever, we hear you say — after all Internet bank Smile advertised on bananas yonks ago and we’ve already written about tattooed fruit. But. But this latest effort to merge food and media appears to be well thought out and even has a copy-worthy back story.

The New York Times reports [registration req'd] that network plans to place laser imprints of its insignia and logos for some shows on 35 million eggs in the autumn. CBS’s copywriters have had a load of fun with their sloganeering: CSI — crack the case on CBS; Shark — hard-boiled drama etc.

As cracked as this scheme sounds, George Schweitzer, president of the CBS marketing group, said:

It’s a great way to reach people in an unexpected form… You can’t avoid it.

Just one of the many claimed benefits of the medium is that ‘91% of egg buyers look through eggs to check for breakage prior to purchase’ — more dedicated eyeballs than the average TV commercial can claim (maybe).

The imprinting tech used to brand eggs has been developed by a company called EggFusion, based in Deerfield, Illinois. The founder Bradley Parker claims he wanted to reassure shoppers that egg producers were not placing old eggs in new cartons, so he developed a laser-etching technique to put the expiration date directly on an egg during the washing and grading process. Mr Parker, whose family runs a chicken farm in North Carolina, knew that the only way to get egg producers to co-operate was to make it worth their while. Hence turning the eggs into an advertising medium.

To ensure that egg producers stick to the rules, EggFusion has technicians assigned to each egg plant whilst it owns the equipment and data. The eggs also carry a code that can be checked on a website, www.myfreshegg.com, to find out where the egg originated, the date it left the plant and the names of the distributor and retailer.

Meanwhile in the UK, food producer Birds Eye have continued their ‘we don’t play with your food’ theme into a blog written by one of their pea-farmers. We think that this is a really nice attempt by a corporation to engage with consumers in an open and honest way — right down to somewhat blurry photos. Plus it has a real ‘how it works’ cuteness about it.

What’s clever and zeitgeisty about both of these schemes is that they encourage both consumer trust and producer transparency. The Birds Eye blog has posts titled ‘The folks from ISO are here for an audit’. There is little doubt that consumers Really Care about where the food on their plate comes from nowadays and whether or not it is safe to eat and these branded initatives are picking up on that. And even if the blog in particular is subject to rigorous cross-checking and PR controls it doesn’t show. Plus it’s about peas

Pea-blogging via Russell Davies’ blog.

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Invading Their Space

Blog safety campaigners get it wrong.

blogsafety.jpgWe have posted before on the current moral panic concerning the dangers of social networking sites such as MySpace and Bebo. As the PR wars between rival sites reach crescendo we’d thought we’d check out blogsafety.com – the advice and social networking site about… social networking. And it appears that little has been learned from the sex education wars. Just a few observations. One, when you are trying to talk to teens it’s best not to look and sound like a teacher from the 1970s. Two, teenagers (and people in general) don’t tend to respond well to being patronised — kids in particular don’t need the Internet explaining to them — it’s part of their reality. Three is the sole comment in response to the following advice:

“We recommend that you do give them the web address of your blog and it’s a very good idea to talk with them about what you’re doing and reassure them that you understand basic safety and privacy rules.”

Nope, I’m never sharing my blog with my parents — and that’s final.

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7/7

london bombings.jpgSurvivor Rachel North’s blog.

Survivor Holly Finch’s blog.

The online petition for a public inquiry into the 7th July bombings.

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Bloggers lie Bleeding

Gawker Media gets serious: sacks staff and sells sites.

Blog overlord Nick Denton of Gawker Media has started to behave like a proper media magnate. An ex Financial Times journalist, Denton made his fortune on First Tuesday (remember them?) a dotcom social networking site that reportedly sold for $50 million and Moreover Technologies, which sold for a reported $39 million. Ever the entrail-reader of digital media, Denton has established a blogging empire in Gawker Media which produces tightly-written blogs on Manhattan media, tech, the LA scene and seemingly anything else which could interest the young professional.

But Denton’s clearly playing a long game. In recent days he’s put two underperforming sites up for sale, reorganised others and even sacked several editorial staff.

The changes come as Denton when apparently on top of his game. Page views at his sites have doubled in the last year; Gawker Media and Nielsen/NetRatings put monthly unique visitors at 4.2 million. The crucial advertisers flock after the sites’ ohsodesirable demographic: Gawker’s media pack boasts “The majority of our readers are 26-35. Around 75% are university graduates, 18% with advanced degrees; over 20% more attended/attending university. Almost 30% have a HHI of over 100K; Over 70% above 50K.” At one point last year the buzz got so loud that even Vanity Fair was forced to take note and gave the key staff of Gawker and Defamer their own double-paged spread.

Denton told the New York Times, “Better to sober up now, before the end of the party. We are becoming a lot more like a traditional media company. You launch a site, you have great hopes for it and it does not grow as much as you wanted. You have to have the discipline to recognise what isn’t working and put your money and efforts into those sites that are.”

Traditional media owners beware – they’re not as fluffy as they look, these bloggers. As Denton notes, “The barrier to entry in Internet Media is low. The barrier to success is high.”

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“All That Print Media Shit Doesn’t Matter Anymore”

Says indie musician John Vanderslice.

Picked up by the very intelligent ad-blog adpulp, the interview from DCist demonstrates how the balance of power has shifted from print to people online (emphasis ours):

Q. How do you feel about blogs compared with the mainstream music media?

A. When I got the “C” letter grade review in Spin, I heard nothing. Not from anybody. No one ever said anything to me. But whenever I got a good review from somewhere like Tiny Mix Tapes I would get emails about it. It was very clear to me then that all that print media shit doesn’t matter anymore. It totally does not matter. I mean, no offense to Spin or anyone like that, but people right now, hard core music people that pay attention, they’re online. The big national glossies just don’t have that kind of impact anymore. I guess. I mean this is all anecdotal, I can’t back any of it up, but the way people find out about us and find out things about us, it’s all bloggers. It’s all online ‘zines. Whether it’s Drowned in Sound or Tiny Mix Tapes or Largehearted Boy, Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, the list goes on and on.

You know, it’s weird, if someone posts something on Metafilter, I look on my website and all of a sudden, we’re getting like 25,000 unique visitors in one day, you know. And we got a review on Pixel Revolt in Rolling Stone. And the day that that review came out, there was no bump whatsoever. And that was a good review. And we got no bump in traffic on the website. That’s insane. I can look at where people are coming from and who’s searching what, and what method they are using to get to my site. After that I was like, “Fuck paying a publicist to work your record, lets just email all the bloggers and send them a record or some MP3’s.”

A band will come up to me and tell me “Oh my god, we’re getting a record review in Rolling Stone and what I want to tell them is, ‘Listen, who cares, it doesn’t mean anything.'” What means something is that a blogger with credibility has his or her own fan base, you know what I mean? People follow bloggers because they understand their aesthetic framework and what they like and their sensibilities.

Read more about John Vanderslice and listen to his music on his site.

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Andy Warhol Blogs

The genius idea of the week — a blog of Warhol’s monotonal memoirs.

andy warhol blogs.jpgIt suggests that legendarily boring diarist Andy Warhol may well have been the world’s first blogger. The ‘about’ explains:

This is Andy Warhol’s diary entries posted exactly 29 years to the day after they were first recorded. All text is taken directly from the publication The Andy Warhol Diaries, edited by Pat Hackett. All notes and comments made by the editor have been removed. The Diary spans just over 10 years, bringing this project to completion in Febuary, 2016.

Our favourite entry from the diaries:

Said hello to lots of people who said hello to me.

Via WOW.

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