Amidst NUVO's 2011 in Review coverage and all the talk of the supposedly forthcoming Apocalypse (which won't happen, at least naturally) online, I posed a question to Twitter yesterday: "Wouldn't it be exciting if the entire Internet just... died?"
Judging by the response, it would only be... "interesting, no doubt." (Hat tip to @nathanframpton for drowning out the crickets.) It would be a little depressing, too, if only because we wouldn't be able to learn things like this in the future:
1. Food trucks are the new bacon.
Thanks to social-media-savvy entrepreneurs, Indianapolis - and plenty of other cities - freely feasted on food from a flourish of food trucks in 2011.
- this new development in cuisine has given Hoosiers something else to
talk about besides State Fair food and bacon (which, according to pigs
like Mudslinger in the video below, it's time to shut up about.)
2.If you had a pint for every new brewery in Indiana,
you'd be more than slightly slizzered.
A dozen or so breweries and local brewpubs opened in and around Indy in the past year,
giving people who might typically be used to drinking Blue Moon at
Applebee's the opportunity to try a wide range of locally produced
As with food trucks, social-media sites and simple blogging
platforms allowed brewers to get the word out with ease - and more
effectively than the slurred word-of-mouth provided by some of their
3. Netflix isn't your BFF...
Once upon a time, it was easy to pretend that you weren't sad and
lonely on a Friday night as long as you had a few local brewskis and
your streaming Netflix queue to keep you company. Then Netflix had to
go and get high-maintenance on you, asking for more money for fewer services.
The company changed its mind about the split services, but the damage
was done, and now the odds are good you've broken up with them after having been wooed by another
service like Amazon.
4. ... and neither is Siri.
When the iPhone 4S was unveiled this year, many hailed it and its new personal digital assistant, Siri, as the second coming of Steve Jobs. But thanks to a glitch that prevented "her" from guiding users to abortion clinics when asked - even though she'd give you advice on where to hide a body - it soon felt like Siri was simply an aural PalmPilot, cumbersome and not as helpful as you'd hoped.
5. Google doesn't always know what you want.
(Or maybe it does?)
Pretending it's just as hip as Facebook even after the failure of its former social-networking tool, Google Buzz, Google launched yet another attempt to lure you into its social web with its much-maligned Google+. Traffic to the site has grown in fits and starts, but problems like Google's censoring of some users' pictures likely won't help the company's cause.
Google still hasn't figured out social networking. But does it matter? Not if products like its simple new YouTube Slam
have anything to do with it.
In Slam's launch this week, Google has
hearkened back to the year 2000, when the epitome of shallowness was
reached with the launch of human-attractiveness rating site Hot or Not.
Instead of voting on whether a person is attractive or not, Slam allows you to
watch two videos and vote on whether, for example, a video of kittens being
bopped in the head is more or less cute than a
video of kittens going down a playground slide (see the hilarity/sadness at the bottom of this post).
So Google doesn't know what you want in terms of social media tools.
But it does know that we all just want to sit around and watch videos
at work. And with that, we're off to vote on bizarre videos, regardless
of what year it is. Well, almost:
Bonus: The Internet is occupied.
Vancouver, Canada-based anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters was the little match that could in 2011, setting ablaze collective frustrations about the economy, greed and inequality in America and beyond.
Sure, it wasn't quite an "American Spring," but the Occupy protests gave all Americans food for thought. And the 99% aren't stopping just because the weather's cold: Even though many protestors are occupying the warmer environs of their homes this winter, plans are afoot to launch a "Facebook for the 99%" in 2012 to stay connected for their cause.
What did you learn this year from the Internet?
Leave a comment below to let us know. After you watch the kitten quasi-abuse, of course.