July 19, 2004

The Old New Thing

I've been working in "new media" for 10 years now, beginning with The Voyager Company in 1994. Back then, it was all about CD-ROMs and multimedia, and bookstores were turning into 'media outlets,' and the press was eating up this "future." Buzz buzz buzz.

In 1995, I began working on the Web (for Voyager), helping manage one of the first e-commerce sites (what was it we called it then? oh yeah, a "catalog"). I remember when animated GIFs were all the rage, and I made a morphing "A" for the Voyager home page.

I couldn't stand New York, though, so I moved back to SF, and got work with Studio Archetype, a graphic design company that had drunk deeply of the interactive Kool-Aid. I morphed myself, from a middling Web developer (wrestling with JavaScript and layers when Netscape 4 launched) into an interaction designer. This was 1996, and over the next few years, this mildly freakish obsession of mine turned into the biggest thing since sliced bread. There were fabulous parties, fabulous conferences, travel, etc. etc. And everywhere a DJ spinning. I found myself in the center of a maelstrom, all the time just doing what I wanted to be doing.

I thought about this last Friday night, at the RX Gallery, where a most fabulous party took place following a conference on social media, mobile devices, art, and urban settings. I didn't attend the conference, so I felt like I was entering a play in the third act. And what a play! Hip artsy bar in an edgy part of town, filled with beautiful young people. It was very much like being a web worker in 1997. Except more gender equitable, and everyone was cuter. Naturally, a DJ spinning.

At some point, I found myself in the loft toward the back of the bar, looking out at all the beautiful people. And I really felt the metaphor, me on the outside looking in on this new wave. And me realizing that I was no longer at the heart of the new and cool thing. In the past, I had just naturally gravitated toward multimedia and the Web, and found myself caught up in The New New Thing. But in this present, I just can't get worked up about social networking systems, or mobile devices, or some combination thereof. I try, but my eyes glaze over. Instead, I've opted to doggedly pursue making things make sense for people, and promoting the business value of this decision. Which feels both responsible and perhaps stodgily corporate.

And I wondered, as I gazed out on the room, have I matured? Or become rigid? Or both?

Posted by peterme at 09:10 PM | Comments (20)


See Me Travel
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
Archives from June 13, 2001 to January 2003
Archives from before June 13, 2001
Recent Entries
The Old New Thing
Subscribe to my feed:
Powered by
Movable Type 3.2