March 18, 2014

The World Goes Round and Round

I am old enough to notice the past repeating itself.

When I was younger, I remember some old guy told me that fashion was cyclical. The same styles come back, fade out, and come back again. He said, as you grow old you see these trends cycling through. I don’t consider myself that old, but I guess I am old enough to observe a cycle in the way we produce online content.

When I was in high school, blogs like LiveJournal and Xanga were the way my friends and I produced online content. People posted about their lives, read each other’s blogs, commented. I even met some of my future classmates through our college’s pre-frosh LiveJournal community.

Then sometime during college, that all stopped. Rather than creating original content, we substituted in quick actions. We liked on Facebook, retweeted on Twitter, and reblogged on Tumblr. There was this one button content “creation” phenomena.

We are swinging back. People have gotten tired of the quickie content creation. They yearn for meatier content. I think that is driving the explosion in new blogging sites focused on writing. Whitespaces, no distraction, markdown… anything to make it easy to write meaningful content. I am looking at Ghost, Svbtle, and of course, Medium.

Perhaps to invent the next step is to look back. Revamp some of those crazy ideas of 1990s like web rings and LiveJournal communities, but with a Web 2.0 spin—minimalism, flat design, maybe something with Node.js or Firebase or whatever is the hip new thing on Hacker News.

After all, some of those PowerPoint animations that we made fun of are revamping into jQuery $.fadeIn(). iPhone apps now zoom in and out just like my high school PowerPoints once did. The past comes back. Maybe it disguises itself with a sunglass-mustache-combo, but it does come back.