The lovely folks at contacted me last week asking me to style a Collection B jacket as part of a styling challenge. (Marketing alert! FTC! This is my ‘I am participating in a marketing campaign and am inauthentic as a blogger’ disclaimer!)  I had my fingers crossed it was going to be black leather, but this plaid bomber was a nice surprise and it was fun working with something a little bit outside my usual colour-reserved-only-for-shoes-nails-and-accessories box.
jacket collection b tee nudie necklace oak skirt pins+needles  boots surface to air

The lovely folks at contacted me last week asking me to style a Collection B jacket as part of a styling challenge. (Marketing alert! FTC! This is my ‘I am participating in a marketing campaign and am inauthentic as a blogger’ disclaimer!)  I had my fingers crossed it was going to be black leather, but this plaid bomber was a nice surprise and it was fun working with something a little bit outside my usual colour-reserved-only-for-shoes-nails-and-accessories box.

jacket collection b
tee nudie
necklace oak
skirt pins+needles
boots surface to air

CJR | Maureen Tkacik - Look at Me! A Writer's Search for Journalism in the Age of Branding

Let’s just leave it at that this was the best 35 minutes of reading I had so far today: Moe Tkacik discussing at great length everything from the economy, American Apparel, Gawker Media and Jezebel and that Redbook cover that put Jezebel on my (and probably your) daily radar to begin with, that whole Emily Gould scandal, personal vs private, journalism vs branding/advertising, The Wall Street Journal, personal psychology of being a writer/journalist/blogger in this day and age, New York and microfame, the effect of the internet on journalism, thing which are tangentially related to about 18 conversations I’ve had about these things in the past two weeks, and a lot of crap which probably interacts with why I’m sitting here keeping a fashion blog laughing sarcastically at any lofty/naieve/stupid writerly/arty childhood dreams I had and breaking down over journalism vs photojournalism vs art photography vs fashion photography vs fashion media vs “real media” vs offensively targeted “women’s media” vs my rusting English major vs this sentence isn’t even making sense anymore but basically it was a great read.

NYFW on Twitter: Livestreamed vs. Traditional Shows

So by now we all basically get it that fashion folks have been getting its designer knickers in a giant bunch over BLOGS AND TWITTER AND SOCIAL MEDIA AND DIGITAL DEMOCRATIZATION for like the past year or so, and Derek Blasberg and Nick Knight are duking it out over whether fashion week is dying or being reborn, and even finally caught on and started interviewing folks on "The Future of Fashion." (Heidi Slimane's in particular is rad.)  NYFW was littered with blogger conferences, Tavi's hairbows are causing an uproar or whaaaatever, and half the designers out there are freaking out that Polyvore/Chictopia/Weardrobe/Looklet/Lookbook/YOUR BLOG dilutes their brand integrity/exclusivity while the other half are throwing huge marketing budgets dedicated to reaching their audiences.

I tracked a handful of NYFW designers in Trendrr (full disclosure: I work here) and found some interesting lookin’ stuff regarding livestreamed shows versus traditional ones.  Below is a graph of Twitter conversation per-day about a handful of New York designers (admittedly chosen arbitrarily). You’re familiar with all those names in blue and green, I’m sure — and will note that all the designers graphs seem to follow a logical curve in which there’s a spike the day of their show and a gradual tapering afterwards as coverage occurs and the declines.  And you’ll also note the HUGEASS PINK SPIKES.  Those pink spikes belong to Rodarte, Alexander Wang, and Marc Jacobs.  All of whom livestreamed their shows and have gone to great lengths to reach, you know, us.

Now granted, this seems pretty obvious: MJ, Alex, and Rodarte are pretty buzzy to begin with, and are going to be talked about more than Doo.Ri.  And we can’t establish cause/effect from anything here, but it sure seems there’s at least a correlation between Twitter conversation and livestreamed shows.  (Let it also be known that I weaseled my way out of AP Stat in high school and satisfied my college math requirement with, um, social psychology, so take that as my disclaimer.)

Still, it seems that by a huge majority, Twitter conversation (do some visual area-under-the-curve-ing there, folks) was dedicated to designers who livestreamed their fashion shows and embraced their fanbase (rather than stressing exclusivity to the media elite, celebrities, and other fashion insiders) by inviting them to watch, comment, and participate.  I know I definitely tweeted more about Rodarte than Yigal Azrouel (though now that I think about it, more of my paycheck has gone to Yigal than the sisters Mulleavy in the past year, but I’ve definitely given Rodarte more free advertising via this blog. Hmm.)


Why fashion is worth blogging about.

Dear readers — of which there are, somehow, thousands of you (why?! how?! when!?) — I know you’re all here from idle clicking or to look at photos of my shoes and of skinny girls in absurd dresses or whatever, but this is the stuff I want you to read and want you to talk about — and want to know what you think too. This is important, this is what I actually want you to read and care about and comment and talk about.

And another disclaimer: nothing I’m going to say here is new; everything are ideas expressed by other people as well, often more eloquently, and many of which I’ve posted before — Jenna at Jezebel, the girls at Threadbared, a lot of the wonderful ladies on my blogroll, some of the other commenters at Contexts, some of the lovely folks who also post at TFS — everyone has these ideas, and there is a lot more to be said about it. I’m just getting it out there with how and why I agree.

I am sick and tired of hearing that fashion is stupid, silly, inane, shallow, for girls, a waste of time, consumerist, idiotic, antifeminist, misogynistic, pathetic, etc, etc, ad nauseam, and this is why.

Read More

Raquel Zimmerman dancing awkwardly (and then collapsing and laughing at the end) to Lady Gaga wearing the dress Gareth Pugh made on a live broadcast on Nick Knight’s Showstudio — how adorable can you get? Who doesn’t love this kind of garbage? (The video at the above link of him making the dress is also awesome, if only for the hilarity of some of the music in the background.)

Even though the whole “democritization of fashion” means I have access to images of the runway you know, about an hour after Anna Wintour does, this sort of low-key, personal, and straight-up fun media is another one of the more awesome side effect of the internets, as well as the accessibility of the “process” and all things “behind the scenes”  to those of us that wouldn’t have been able to access ANY of that five to ten years ago.

This interview with Jamie Perlman of Vogue UK and Test Magazine brings up a lot of good points about things like this — sure, the “magazine” and the “editorial spread” are going the way of the dodo, but between all the hoopla about new publishing formats and tablets, and the very recent ability to create and distribute high-quality video media for very, very little money — I think it’s really “exciting” watching how “fashion” is “adapting” to “new media,” which I still can’t say without laughing or using irony quotes, but I mean, seriously, lots of cool stuff going on.

Both media outlets and designers have done so much rad shit in the past year — Rad Hourani showed off his diffusion line in a video; Santa Lolla’s promo video with Jessica Stam ; Twin Magazine’s behind-the-scenes video of a shoot Freja Beha (side note: let’s all take a moment to collectively drool there) ; Purple Fashion’s absurd Diary; Metal Magazine’s strange Happy New Year video; Herve Leger using Lissy Trullie’s Richard-Kern-directed music video as a showcase for their collection, McQueen’s live broadcast of the lobstersaurus-claw-shoes-SS10-show, Cass Bird’s film for Sophomore’s lookbook… the list (and that’s just of media I can think of off the top of my head in a few minutes like that) goes on and on, and unlike so much of what I’d witnessed in the music industry (I’m not even going to get into that OK Go debacle) it’s all, for the most part, actually really rad and creative and for the most part embraces changes rather than desperately and hopelessly trying to dam the inevitable flood.  Though there have been, of course, some blunders — houses throwing lil’ fits over leaked ad campaigns (O NOEZ FREE IMPRESSIONS!!!) and the fact that it’s only this year that FWs are full of blogger love (PS, anyone else going to Chictopia10 or the IFB conference??)

But as I’ve said a billion times before, this general progression instead of frantic paralysis is probably is mostly due to the fact that while newsmedia and magazines are collapsing left and right, the actual industry of fashion isn’t as threatened by technology — until we can all walk around naked or I can download a pair of Kirkwoods, the business of making and selling clothes isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. (Whereas in music, the main source of revenue for the entire industry is trasmissible digitally, for free. Hence, you know, the past DECADE OF APOCALYPSE.)

ny mag | the cut | fashion companies don't like it when blogs run ads early

You know, just when I think I can’t get any more frustrated with how idiotic the entire universe seems to be when it comes to teh intarnetz, I run across this.  Dior: “OH NOEZ! OUR ADVERTISEMENTS ARE BEING SEEN BY MORE PEOPLE THAN WE INTENDED, FOR A LONGER PERIOD OF TIME THAN WE INTENDED, AND WE AREN’T PAYING FOR IT! FUCK!!!! THIS IS SO BAD!!! WE NEED TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION!!!”

Only possible comment:

Snark aside, this isn’t even an issue of copyright or artistic license — the only thing I could possibly understand if the companies were frustrated if these were not approved and “final” ads and they somehow “distort” brand integrity?  If anything, one would think that perhaps the magazine would be frustrated that the blog’s circulation of ad campaign images on "untrustworthy" and "unprofessional" blogs was somehow damaging the exclusivity of the ad buy and might somehow threaten their ability to charge totally inflated exorbitant prices for ad placements. When I was 16, I definitely used to buy magazines just to tear out the Juergen Teller Marc Jacobs ads to put on my wall, and whether or not kids are now printing the crappy JPGs off TFS or their blogs or whatever before the magazines come out seems to damage nobody other than the magazine. Who are already pretty damaged.  Yet it’s the advertisers throwing a hissy fit?

It’s not like music, where you can debate whether the MP3 is the advertisement (for a show, merch, brand, etc) or the product (something with value) — we are talking about promotional images here, images which serve no function other than to promote a brand and encourage purchase of the items photographed, images which are meant to be seen by as many people as humanly possible because, in theory, more impressions —> more purchases.

Especially considering all the recent hoopla about how in fashion, an editorial blog placement/endorsement has more effect on retail than a billboard or Vogue ad spread, it’s seriously nothing short of stunning that any brand on the planet would get that up in arms about not having to pay for more effective, longer-running advertising for free.

NY Times | Bloggers Crash Fashion's Front Row

In which print media catches on pathetically late, yet again, to the internet — this time around, the incredibly obvious blog-democritization-realtime-crowdsourcing-whatever “TREND” which the music industry pretty obviously (and more publicly) witnessed a few years before fashion and yet is strangely similar in its uncomfortable dismantling of the upper echelons (and by that I mean paychecks) of its repsective “industry” and only just NOW are we figuring out that like, oh shit, this whole internet thing affects, like, EVERYTHING, and what the hell are we going to do now that it’s becoming obvious that advertising doesn’t really work and isn’t worth the money and these kids and their computers might have good ideas/talent/content/whatever too, which is cool and all but then it also pretty much means I’m never going to get paid to write or take photos ever so Imma just keep on blogging or whatever but we all KNOW that and accept it even though it sucks and our ~childhood dreams are totally crushed~ (incidentally that’s a link to a fairly great article on Gakwer which sums up the depressing realization we’ve all come to, and also why it’s a good thing those internships at Spin/Nylon/Vogue/etc I applied for years ago for never worked out) but we know we’ll figure other things out (the resolution to the above existential malaise being why I work in and actually enjoy digital marketing), it’s just that the old people whose jobs/identity/industries/whatever are being eaten away by Hype Machine / Tavi can’t adapt or deal with it and so we all have to suffer through these REVOLUTIONARY ARTICLES ON BLOGGERS which makes me want to read newspapers even less.

At some point I really should stop posting links like this because my eyeballs are just going to roll so far back into my head they’re going to stick and I’m still going to be typing epic-run-on rants against cringeworthy media analysis, and THEN where would we be?!

copyblogger | why james chartrand wears women's underpants

In which  “James Chartrand” of copywriting blog Men With Pens reveals that she is among the ranks of George Sand and the Bell brothers and George Eliot (and AM Homes and SE Hinton and JK Rowling — and my own very deliberately genderless - and therefore presumably male - resume and email address.)

Most shocking to me: the commenters surprise, and especially those who accuse her of fraud or say that the male pen name just boosted her confidence and wasn’t at all related to the sudden pay increase she recieved upon becoming a man on paper — that she broke through the glass ceiling by coincidence, that it wasn’t the name so much as that pretending to be a man actually just made her better (thereby implying that, you know, she’d be better if she was actually a man, so pretending to be one helped.)  Here are some fun facts from the US government, kids: a century of feminism and still my talents or work would be more likely to be taken more seriously (and rewarded more generously) if I had pen instead of an inkwell, as one charming commenter so nicely pointed out pointed out.

Tangentially related and depressing: recent NYT article on African American women taking steps to hide their racial background on their resumes. Also:  the under-representation of women in film.

Word Routes | Are You Esurient?

My minor/correllate in college was this completely fabricated (and completely awesome) linguistics/anthropology/media studies track which I somehow got the anth department to approve and call “langauge, new media, and expressive culture.”  Which basically came down to a lot of crap about, like, what languages people use on their Facebook walls, how blogs perpetuate certain linguistic style amongst their commenters to create a community (Gawker vs Perez vs HRO), the fact that abbreviations for texting/tweeting etc are creative adaptations to constrants and not the end of the English language (fuck you, prescriptivists), what the actual logic of cat macro text (“LOLSPEAK”) is and academizing other various 4chan garbage and memes, and then an awful lot using Google for statistics on when and where phrases or alternate spellings became popular.  Man, was that all useless and awesome or what.

Point of all that was that I totally miss it a few years later, which is why things like this make me cream my linguistpants.  (Also, you know, links including Monty Python sketches never hurt anyone.)  Top records / videos / films of the year? Yawn (though I’m sure I’ll post my own lists at some point.)  Top searched words of the year at Merrimam-Webster??! Hell yes!’s top lists are a bit less reassuring though - I’m not sure if I should be depressed or proud of the American public that so many of them needed to look up the definition of “socialism.”

a lot of questions.

For reasons I can’t quite understand, a slew of recent ‘politically charged’ or ‘meaningful social commentary’ editorials (see: French Vogue’s seriously questionable Lara-Stone-as-post-racial-morphing-woman editorial, by which I mean “do you think her tits will be generally acceptable if we make her black?”; W’s “politically and religiously charged portfolio featuring supermodel Linda Evangelista" conceived by artist Maurizio Cattelan) are making me super-uncomfortable, and it’s not the debatable content or artistic intent that’s bugging me out, it’s the fact that it’s debatable to begin with.  Why do I have this bizarre feeling about these specific ‘high profile fashion magazines’ publishing ‘politically charged editorials?’ (Which we’re all aware are basically beautifully constructed artistic advertisements, and which I obviously am totally okay with and think are related to a ton of ‘really good art’ and which I avidly seek out and admire etc, etc, etc; it’s not about that, or even about fashion magazines also making social commentary or influence, which I also do believe is possible.)

So why are these editorials in particular, at this point, feeling more desperate, empty, uninspired, boring, and downright offensive than usual?  Why does it annoy me that this is field for debate at this point? Why does it feel like a distraction rather than actual commentary (and what do I even mean by actual commentary?)  Why do they feel so obviously like more pathetic attempts to grab and hold our attention?  This is like one step away from Lady Gaga being confused about what feminism means and talking about being a hermaphrodite and pretending that’s so queer-friendly and progressive or whatever when it’s really just marketing strategy.  Shock them! Be political! People will buy shit if you’re political! Yeah!

I’m not sure how the rest of this even relates, but somehow all these desperate-seeming ‘media’ and ‘publicity stunts’ — both in music and in fashion, and in their respective media — get me thinking too much about both of those industries and their media — and their blogs, and the directness of their internet-facilitated industry-to-consumer communication.  Which in turn gets down into these weird concepts about new media and consumerism and issues of identity politics (because let’s face it, for me at least, a huge part of my public identity — disregarding ‘ideals’ and interpersonal relations — relies entirely on music and fashion, and I get about 85% of my information and ideas about both of those things through this here lil’ glowy screen.)

What I see as an enormous part of the crux of the ‘music industry’s problem’ is that the rise of the internet etc has lead us to question precisely what the monetary value of music really is — similarly, really one of the main things itching the dying media as well.  Is intellectual property/information/art worth money, and even if it is, how can that be profitable?  (Keep in mind I work in music marketing and have enough criticisms I could make about that, but on a base level don’t find it immoral or disturbing.)  There’s another layer to this problem then, too: is the music something we see as an ‘item’ worth ‘paying for’, and is the journalism about the music — consisting traditionally of (usually asinine) reviews of music and shows, and of promotional interviews and photography — worth money as well?

Fashion, on the other hand, isn’t going anywhere.  Their industry obviously is threatened and their media is in trouble as much as anyone else’s — which in turn obviously reflects the severity of the crisis elsewhere — but people still buy clothes, they still want clothes, they still want to dress themselves in a ‘fashionable’ way for whatever myriad of shallow and not-so-shallow reasons, with explanations running the gamut from misogyny to the most complex marxist sociological breakdown.  There is a concrete product which people, in theory, need, and want far more than they need (once again, for any number of reasons.)

In economic disaster people question why and how much they need or want, and of course we question the morality and sustainability of it, blahblahblah — but there’s no solid argument as to whether or not the end product ought to have value, probably because there’s very little public opportunity for direct access to the actual product itself without an exchange of money.  And while we can question the extremity of the gap, there’s also little question as to why ‘nice’ or silk clothes are pricier than ‘poorly made’ or polyester clothes, whereas in music it’s difficult to say if ‘good’ music should be worth more than ‘crappy’ music, since that’s impossible to quantify to begin with.   (Interestingly I think this also begins to bring up arguments about copyright and intellectual property, though I suppose you do see those lawsuits in fashion as well as music — though in music they also tend to be industry-to-consumer whereas in fashion they’re intra-industry.  Which I guess brings in a whole other thing comparing remixing/sampling/whatever to what we essentially do every day getting dressed, which is putting together other people’s intellectual property/art/design/whatever for our own purposes.)

So then what is it that these two industries — the ones in whose spheres I spend much of both my professional and personal lives, whose media I contribute to or consume most often — have in common (other than the fact that CMJ is coming up and I’m scoping out a new winter coat to help me weather it), and why do I feel this itching need to compare and contrast the crash and burn of their respective media and the dire circumstances facing them at large?  (And why do I feel like I’m writing notes for a dissertation? Do I miss college that much? Do I want to go to grad school or something?) And how does this relate to, once again, Lara Stone painted in blackface and Linda Evangelista sleeping in an empty closet?

FTC to bloggers: disclose freebies or face $11k fine

I’m curious to understand exactly how the FTC plans to enforce this and what exactly is the motivation behind it — while I generally like to think that I am into more ethical, authentic concepts of marketing, I’m a bit baffled by this.

For the sake of full disclosure here, revealing my own potential defensive bias, my ‘day job’ is online marketing + PR, mostly in music, but also with a number of film/tv/entertainment/fashion clients. But my background has mostly been in the music industry, and mostly on a ‘grassroots’ level — I’ve always worked with street teams, fans, bloggers, and small or local publications.  My job, essentially, is giving free shit to people, who proceed to either tell me they hate it, or tell me they like it and then write about it.  A “good” publicist knows his/her “targets” and knows how to set up a talented artist (or a good product) with an outlet who will care; I think it’s fair to say that most people would not find this “morally offensive” and admit that marketing/PR is a necessary part of ANY industry.  And in writing this, we’ll factor in that my “identity” in the “digital” realm is two-faceted: I consider myself on both ends of the spectrum (marketing and media, no matter how small-fish I may be in both ponds) discussed here.

So to what extent are the review copies of CDs I send, or the promotional vinyls, or the concert tickets, objectionable, or “freebies” that need to be disclosed?  How does this work, and above all, why is it only bloggers? Why don’t you see “a publicist may have sent this CD to us” as a footnote on the pages of Rolling Stone’s reviews?  When I have leftover ‘promotional swag’ in  my office or leftover concert tickets and I send them to a writer or friend as a favor or to say thanks or just because I know they really like the band, is this ‘bribery’ and ‘corruption’ which needs to be ‘disclosed?’  Why are we comparing this to radio  payola instead of discussing the complexities of the overlaps between advertising/marketing/PR in the digital realm?

What about links to streams of music? What about a .zip file of MP3s that could be purchased elsewhere? Is a digital download “worth” the same as a “promo” CD, and is a burned “promo” CD or a watermark the same as a plain consumer copy of the CD slotted for promotional use?  Do list spots to an already free concert count as schwag that needs to be disclosed? Do “my” bloggers now need to write “Meg hooked me up!!!” in every post, and do I need to mention if a friend is a publicist or in a band whose video I post here? What about when I write about an artist I represent but also am a fan of?  When I invite a writer to a concert or showcase with an open bar, do they need to mention that the alcohol and the party and quite possibly their personal friendship with me, my colleagues, or even the band factored in, or disclaim the photos of us tagged on Facebook holding the branded items my company procured for the party photos? Are we honestly expected to footnote every post with “a press release and PR and possibly a digital download of an album were involved in the creation of this post?”  What about digital download copies of software for review by tech outlets?

We’re not talking about blatantly pathetic celebrity endorsements of gross or harmful products here, where I think we can all agree some transparency is great.  What I want to know is more complex: When you read CD reviews in a magazine, do you feel the review is ‘less authentic’ because you know a publicist sent the CD to the writer?  Do you find fashion spreads ‘suspicious’ because you know the designer’s PR flacks sent the pieces to the magazine?  When you read a fashion blog and the writer mentions that their friend at Rodarte hooked them up with those leggings, do you think that makes the ‘cooler’ or ‘less authentic’?  Should celebs on the red carpet pin “Vera Wang let me borrow this dress so you’d photograph me in it” to their clothes? When you read an interview with a celebrity in a magazine, do you feel that it is less ‘authentic’ because a publicist coordinated it? If so, does that make the celebrity’s ‘time’ and ‘image’ a commodity which the magazine should disclose they were given as a promotional item?  What about fashion magazines tending to write about their advertisers because of internal politics and paranoia, or, even more confusing, because of their friendships and real personal relationships with ad account execs and publicists? (We’re all real people, and some of us are fun to hang out with too! Woah!)

These things aren’t new issues to blogs — once again, it’s just a new level of transparency created by the internet, and in this case, the criticism seems to be strangely disregarding that “conventional” media is widely regarded as “more corrupt.” It also raises another point, one PSFK recently addressed in reference to Monocle with their editorial media as creative agency/advertising concept — which in turn goes along with recent discussions about the inefficacy of advertising as compared to  editorial/journalistic endorsement/”word of mouth” marketing (which is of course uber-difficult to quantify and even harder to connect to profit in a linear way.)  So all this makes it nearly impossible to differentiate between “authentic” and “sponsored” journalism.  (I’d generally like to give the reader the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re bright enough to know when they’re being “brainwashed,” as generally the media outlets that thrive are the ones with a strong sense of self/brand, and not those who cater to every corporate whim.)

But at the end of the day, is the public disclosure of the existence of my job — digital, grassroots marketing focused on blogger + fan outreach — and my industry really that horrifying? I’ve gotten into arguments with people over this since they percieve blogs as “authentic” and “personal,” rather than as “media outlets” which are inherently “corrupt” — as if these things don’t ever overlap, and as if a media outlet doesn’t have a personal spin, or as if the existence of a publicist denies a blogger any and all creative agency?  It seems like such a futile argument of ethics defending the “authenticity” of “independence,” two things which can’t even be clearly defined here.

This, in turn, brings into light the whole question of where do we draw the line between “personal” blogs and “media publications.”  We all (and I include myself and possibly my own idealised “personal blog” in that “we”) have this romanticized vision of  the ever-so-authentic PERSONAL BLOG, totally free of bias and absolutely isolated from consumerism, immune to marketing and untainted by corporate PR.  But in reality, this is patently untrue — and essentially the FTC is just asking us (well, threatening us) to own up to what we are: the ever-so-untrustworthy less-than-divine prone-to-human-bias media, who may or may not be influenced (directly or indirectly) by the forces of corporate marketing.

contexts | socimages | marketing asian women to anti-feminist men

I’m not even adding commentary on this one — the point here was the impressive comments thread on a very brief post about links between “mail order brides” and “anti-feminism,” and I really think comments like I realize feminists never buy the stuff because (1) they mistakingly think they are so (gag) “hot” they don’t need it or (2) they realize it wouldn’t do any good because men don’t want them anyway so they can buy more food to feed their barnbutts. The “best looking” feminist couldn’t compare to the homeliest Asian woman even if the feminist used a gallon of makeup.” comments speak for themselves, and sort of want to make me dig this up out of my closet.

USA Today | 'Flocking' behavior lands on social networking

This article devolves into the argument that’s one of my ultimate pet peeves — “Is the internet good or bad? Does Facebook make people happier or more depressed? Is technology making us fat/lazy/stupid or smart/social/aware?” — but starts out with some great stuff about “social networks” being, you know, a sociological phenomenon prior to their being an internet phenomenon, activity, and marketing technique, and essentially is more or less what I find so f*#%ing fascinating about digital social environments in general: they reflect how we act in ‘real life.’  (This, in turn, is why I get annoyed at people complaining about the amount of garbage on the internet: there’s a lot of garbage and mean people out there IRL too — we just don’t have 24/7 instant access to it and it’s easier to filter.)

It’s something so patently obvious — you do what your friends do, and you spend time with the same groups of people, you talk and therefore type and text like them, you even use the same computers as them (seriously, had a conversation earlier today about “pc/google” versus “mac/apple” friends) and your patterns of behavior are similar to theirs, and this is relevant on all sorts of levels, from your coworkers, to your friends, to your subculture and national identity, etc etc… The internet didn’t create these things, it just lets us being to observe and quantify them more easily (be that for fun or academia, or, uh, you know, business) — from Trendsmap to Facebook Lexicon (one of my favourite things ever) and more ‘marketing-y’ tools like Radian.