Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, December 31, 2020

If your reasons for avoiding avatar-addled hangouts like Second Life is because they come off to you as, well, childish — take heart. The numbers bear out that assessment, as it appears pre-teen kids are more active users of graphically-rendered online social networks than adults are:

[Disney-owned] Club Penguin, where members pay $5.95 a month to dress and groom penguin characters and play games with them, attracts seven times more traffic than Second Life. In one sign of the times, Electric Sheep, a software developer that helps companies market their brands in virtual worlds like Second Life and There.com, last week laid off 22 people, about a third of its staff.

So feel free to flip off some Second-Lifer with a derogatory “Grow up!” the next time they bore you about how rad their online existence is.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 12/31/2007 06:18:30 PM
Category: Internet, Media, Pop Culture, Society
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connect this, bitch
So a few days ago, I got an email from somebody named Fred, who IDed himself as a Grassroots Campaign Manager for interactive marketing firm M80. I’m pretty sure I came across M80 a long while back, but nothing more recent rang a bell.

Anyway, Fred asked me to use my bloggy powers of exposure to take a look at “Connected”, a Web-based television program produced by MTV Networks and underwritten by T-Mobile. In return, I was promised a “prize pack” for my time.

Am I that easily bribed? Not usually. But since this particular pitch dovetails nicely with my interests in Web media and ad/marketing creative, I figured, why not. It’s the end of the year, anyway — why not cash out while I can?

The series is chopped up into 5-minute webisodes — a format designed both for today’s hyper-short attention spans, and for optimal viewing on T-Mobile’s Sidekick phone/communication device. As a result, the phone itself makes more than a few appearances in the show. Go figure.

Here’s a basic synopsis of the show’s plot and campaign promo:

You win some, and you definitely lose some—especially if you’re at The Agency. David Newman is just trying to keep his clients happy, and trying to keep them in his agency! In the mix are: Amy, a teen movie star with a rep for wild partying and drama; Russell, an aspiring comedian who can’t find the right foot to start on; Quincy, a fresh-from-film-school director with a little indie cred and looking for his first big hit; Jane, a budding singer-songwriter who’s looking for an identity; Alex, music producer, best friend, gamer; and Emily, his trusty assistant and eyes and ears. Catch the Hollywood series everyone is texting about!

Sound familiar? Yep, it’s essentially a reworking of “Entourage”, except it’s focusing more on the agent’s-eye perspective. Plus there’s little/no cursing, from what I saw in watching all but a couple of episodes. David Newman is basically a younger, smaller, less-threatening version of Ari Gold — sanitized in order to sell cellphones.

Whatever happened to the days when Hollywood agents doled out free vials of cocaine to their budding clientele? Instead, Newman hands out Sidekicks. “Crackberry” effect aside, it doesn’t carry the same satisfyingly-sleazy touch.

But whatever works. This is all aimed squarely at the under-18 crowd, so I guess it wouldn’t be prudent for T-Mobile and MTV to be glamorizing illegal substances through this vehicle. Plenty of time for that after they head off to college…

I’m crossing my fingers that the promised “prize pack” will include a Sidekick — or, alternately, a serving sample of agent-approved nose candy. Anything to foster a compulsive habit that will make 2008 a memorable new year! (Disclaimer: Only joking about my desire to indulge in drug use; caffeine and alcohol do the trick for me just fine, thanks.)

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 12/31/2007 05:30:14 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Internet, TV
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So now that I’ve cleared up my confusion over “oo”-sounding Web startups, I’m ready to testdrive Oosah.

Which I did earlier today. Basically, it’s a free digital media storage site that gives you 2 gigs of disk space for posting photos, sound files, video files and other stuff. It’s designed to be an access-anywhere Web repository of media files, with a Flash-based file system interface for managing the whole she-bang, and tagging to make it searchable on the public portions of the site.

I loaded up a handful of files just to start out. Uploading was fairly easy and reasonably fast. I ran into a quirk where if you set a file as “private”, you couldn’t view/listen to it yourself — a little odd, as I can’t think of why you wouldn’t be able to experience your own stuff. Setting files to “public”, which adds them to the site’s overall search databases, avoids all that.

Anyway, from what I can see, Oosah does the trick for Web-based media storage. Personally, my needs for such a resource are limited, but sites like Spyonvegas are making extensive use of it.

I’ll wrap up with a basic example: Here’s a video of Blink 182’s live performance at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, embedded-style:

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 12/31/2007 04:39:20 PM
Category: Internet, Pop Culture
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