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Digital Pop culture

20 July 2009 One Comment

Digital Media begets its own pop culture. Memes spread faster in this medium than fire over tequila. And many of them become iconic. To stay with us for a longer time- than just transient, one-off events. They become culture. The Digital Pop Culture.

I compiled just a few ones that I could think of.

#FAIL: The word ‘Fail’ has acquired a new meaning online. With fragile attention spans and collective celebration and mockery as a part of the new Conversational ecosystem, when it comes to the digital medium, both celebration and mockery are of unprecedented scale.

For example, Google mail being slow for some time made the Digital mavens go up in protest. ‘gFAIL’ or ‘googleFail’ begun to appear soon like stars on the night sky after rains.

But nothing signifies this better than the thing that probably started this. The twitter fail whale. And its iconic picture.

It’s a motif that is quite unique- that of a sleeping Whale being lifted by a group of birds.  When Yiying Lu designed the Twitter Fail Whale, she probably didn’t expect it to become very popular; leave alone spurring a flurry of activities making it a part of pop culture almost instantly.

The image was designed to depict the instability of Twitter a year back, but soon ‘Fail’ reached gigantic (pun intended) proportions.

Mashable covered it here

To capture how image has been used in pop culture , Lu created a site with all of the Fail Whale related images she could find. It’s a fascinating (and huge) collection: from tributes, to statues, to cakes, to beer labels: it’s everywhere. Check out a couple of our favorites below, and see the entire collection on Lu’s website.

FAIL as a word, and as a hashtag on Twitter is likely to continue to be a part of the Digital Pop culture for a long time to come. Actually, HashTag itself is a huge part of the digital pop culture.

HashTag: Popularized by Twitter, ‘hashtagging’ of common conversational elements has now a take-up with another behemoth in digital media- Facebook.

Largely denoted by the # symbol, both Twitter and Facebook have raised the usage of this phenomenon to such levels that many people choose to track ‘what’s hot’ through hashtags. It is being used as a means for listening to ‘alternative’ (read ‘non mainstream’ news) stories and tracking memes.

I started #ecoTuesday on Twitter for raising awareness about Natural as a lifestyle phiolosophy.

The power of ‘un-‘: Been to an un-conference? Un-followed someone? Un-friended somebody? You are the living example of how un has come to define a whole generation.

Un is undoing something. Mostly Something bad. Something unpleasant. And we, citizens of the ‘half-real-half-virtual-world’ might have made this a part of our everyday lives. Come to think of it, even I started #unfollowfriday on Twitter.

You could see some more commentary regarding the culture of ‘un’ at Post Advertising and NYTimes

The ‘i’ phenomenon: iPod, iTunes, iRiver, iLike..the list can probably go on and on. Best summed with this comment thread I found online

Think about it

Shalabh (@shalabhpandey)