Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Way Back When…

I enjoyed reading PC World’s look back at 1985’s top websites yesterday on Media Guardian. By 2008 standards, the only familiar brands among the top ten visited sites are Xerox and HP – Mr Gates hadn’t seen the importance of a structured domain name strategy at this point!

Reminiscing about how the internet used to look is interesting and, like a history lesson, helps the online world reflect on how to evolve. A favourite site of mine is www.archive.org, where you can use “The Way Back Machine” to look at how the internet used to look. This is full of little discoveries and nuggets of info. My favourite being that www.facebook.com used to redirect to www.aboutface.com – an early social network where organisations could share information with each other. So, to clarify, what stood on the site prior to Facebook being built? A social network! Its description was slightly more wordy back then however - to quote their product description in 1999, aboutface.com was a “Web-based electronic directory” which lists “employee names, faces, biographies, and floor plans to help enhance your corporate village”.

I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to review Google’s former branding on The Way Back Machine– many of the Google logos from yesteryear are greyed out. Either my browser isn’t up to scratch or the search supremos would prefer us only to marvel at the current branding.

The 80s CBC news report below lets us to step back in time to when the internet was in its infancy and understand how the web became part of everyday life. It makes for pretty bizarre viewing for today's tech generation!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Digital Vs. Traditional

In the red corner, Mr Traditional. In the Blue Corner, Mr Digital. My friends and colleagues are quick to place their bets on who will win this epic battle of the media. But while I sit ringside listening to why one is so much more important than the other, I can't help but giggle. What a silly, silly fight. Why can't they both just get along?

I am not only fascinated by the media, but how news stories are broken by the media. Where journalists and PRs have a hand in creating topical issue and debate, they know they have succeeded. However when a hard news story is breaking, a whole range of tools can today be used to find out the latest developments.

Rewind to 30 March 2002, as people watched a Steptoe and Son repeat on BBC2, their programming was interrupted for "an important announcement". The screen stayed on the BBC ident for four and a half minutes - I sat and watched in anticipation. No Freeview to switch to BBC News 24. No time to listen to my dialup slowly connect me to the internet. No Twitter or citizen journalist to tell me on a mobile, blackberry or laptop. And let's face it, Ceefax wasn't going to be much use.

Four and a half minutes later, Peter Sissons tells me that the Queen Mother has died.

The tools available today would have allowed us to scour the digital world to find out what was going on, almost immediately. However, digital media cynics would argue that even if all these digital tools were available, the palace's news would have still been a close kept secret right up to the announcement, with anyone in the know under strict embargo. Still, I doubt nearly as many people would sit and wait for the news to come to them today, with more of us using digital innovation to get at the info we need as quickly as possible.

Thanks to TVwhirl, for allowing us to relive this again:

So this is my blog, on the media world around me and everything that catches my eye - be it on the net or on our sunny London streets.