I thought it might be a good idea to do a little blog post about last Wednesday’s Creative Social Presents Event since I sort of suggested the theme “The Internet Used To Be Fun What Happened”. Here is the Tumblr I presented off of. I am not sure this is what I said, but this is what I meant to be saying. Themes of this talk I have also used for the D&AD North lecture I did with Danny the other week up in Manchester.

Is it only me or could it possibly be that there are only five famous digital campaigns that came out of the “digital revolution” of the last ten or so years? Subservient Chicken, BMW films and Nike+ spring to mind, but that’s pretty much it, no?

There is one “campaign” that I still think is the best by far. The Blair Witch Project. Scary, different and brilliant in concept and execution.

Now that digital has become so central to all marketing activity, could it possibly be that we are taking things too seriously? Wanting to do the right thing all the time, but creating work that is samey and not surprising?

Where is the stuff that makes us feel like this? Has there been a Guinness Surfer equivalent for 2011?

Where is the funny shit like this famous pre-youtube viral?

Shouldn’t we be making advertising/marketing/whateveryouwanttocallit history? I am optimistic though, because I really think we are going into an era of great creativity. It feels like there are lots of brilliant creatives out there working on the big hit now we have finally done away with the digi VS trad debate.

The tedious discipline divide is not what gets in the way though, it’s correctness, the desire to do the right thing that kills great ideas. Erwin Wurm’s one minute sculptures embody the spirit of making stuff up as we go along. I think we need a bit of that playfulness back.

Also maybe the obvious answer is not always the best. If no one had looked slightly to the left of Mr President they wouldn’t have spotted Aretha Franklin’s amazing hat.

It also seems that process is something that gets in the way of ideas all the time. Philippe Petit didn’t set out to create the best use of a tightrope working together with the best tightrope specialists, no. He had a dream. An idea first and then worked out how to make it happen.

The internet has become a hotly contested space and Facebook and Google are busy working on personalisation. Only that the robots are deciding what is relevant to you. And they know nothing about you. Nothing. At all. This is Facebook. Watch this great TED talk by Eli Pariser.

I think we sometimes forget that Social Media is not Facebook. Social Media is being facilitated by Facebook. The content that people want to share and talk about in the pub. Stuff with cultural impact is what cuts through. Again idea first and then let’s see how it flies (or not) on Facebook etc.

Because online if you are a brand and want people to care about your product you don’t compete with your competitor brand but with that funny David Hasslehoff gif that someone just sent you. It’s difficult to cut through. But if you do, it’s great to see how your idea flies. People are busy with real life things. But if you do that little special thing you might, just might have created a hit. How good is that?

And finally if you want to have a little go at WHOSE URL IS IT ANYWAY a sort of live DJ thing using the internet as the only instrument. Here are the links I used on the night for my set:

Mix this
With this
Add a sprinkling of this
Then go here for a walk
And stick this on
Next up play this with the volume low
Set to this track
And play this fella at the same time
Head over to youtube for this and turn the sound off on this
And stick this on
Now slow down with this fat track
Have a little walk around here
Play this clip, sound off
Exit your set with this
Over this

And so on and on and on…

Once you got the gist, just go with the flow. Use what pops into your head. Try not to bookmark in advance.

Thank you, you have been a wonderful audience.


  1. Pingback: The Internet, Used to be Fun. What happened?

  2. This is a goodun’ Flo; It sounds like a fantastic presentation. I hear from my man on the inside that it was presented with the usual Heissmeister playfulness.

    Back when the internet was new and we were impressed by 460×380 youtube videos of dogs on skateboards up close with a wide angle lens, I joined second life as a cowboy. I got donshades korobase got into gun fights, got drunk in public, got arrested and had to spend a night in the cooler… I was so fascinated by that shit that I spent the whole night on the sofa, waiting for my night in the sheriff’s cooling off cell to end – chatting with the dude in the next cell.

    Like the wyld west; like any new state, our playground with rolling planes, unclaimed states and undefined laws is slowly growing up. Legislation, responsibility, etc. We can’t just do as we did; instead of playing in rolling fields, we need to build parks, roof gardens and put on private festivals where the cops arn’t allowed on site. This is my feeling, anyway. Of course, I’m searching for that project that will let me curate a digital 14 hour technicolour dream, just as you’re searching for a starting place to bring a digital factory to life. The more they throw up tall skyscrapers around us, and the thought police tap our facebook** status updates in order to advertise more effectively, the more the population of this digital state will need a space where they can really come out to play.*

    **donshades no longer exists on facebook, with help from a whisky bottle and jim morrison I erased myself

    *I shall hence forth only speak in questionable analogies.

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