What a difference a boing makes.
Last Friday Boing Boing linked to Chewing Pixels’ List of Four Star Halliwell’s films. The ensuing avalanche of visitors to this site was, for me, a bit like the owner of a local café waking up to find every single participant in the London and New York Marathons at the door wanting a drink.
I mean, if I’d known you were all coming I’d have tidied up, repainted, perhaps worked on a better metaphor or something. Anyway, if this is your first time here or, if you’re one of the ten thousand-odd first time visitors from the weekend returning to see if there’s anything else of worth posted here, then welcome. Please stay for a while and, yes, I’m sorry that none of the affiliate links to the four-star films take you to the US wing of Amazon too…
Boing Boing is one of the Internet’s brightest stars. Like many of the most useful websites it actually creates very little content: rather it’s an Internet aggregator and a gigantic filter. If you’ve never been there the site works like so: anybody can submit a link to something they’ve seen on the Internet that is interesting, quirky, beautiful or, as the site’s tag-line suggests: wonderful.
A team of editors then pick those items that they think will appeal to the readership. A number of these items are then posted throughout the day and, week by week, the site more fully embodies its vision to become a ‘directory of wonderful things’. The site’s success – it has one of the largest readership’s on the Internet dwarfing the likes of the Times Online, Forbes, Time Magazine, Reuters and Fox* – is largely down to the quality of its links which are always appealing and interesting.
Readers of the former editor of Wired, Chris Anderson’s astonishing book, The Long Tail will appreciate the prophetic genius of Boing Boing’s simple idea.
The Internet has made content, product and opinion ubiquitous. There’s not necessarily more content, product and opinion than there has been in previous times, but it’s now far more readily available and easily accessible. The web is an ever-expanding waterfall of digital substance that quickly overwhelms the human mind. As a result, we need filters to sift through all the content in order to reveal those elements that are particularly interesting to each of us individually.
Google is a semantic filter, allowing its users to specify a search term and then presenting what it thinks are the most useful links about that search term. Boing Boing, by comparison, is a wonder filter: it retrieves wonderful things not according to vocabulary but, rather, to their inherent, editorially-judged quality. It does this by allowing like-minded individuals to suggest stimulating content and then building a community around that content. By employing readers to provide the initial filtering, and then having a smaller editorial staff filter those recommendations the richest and most interesting Internet content is revealed.
Interestingly, the Four Star film list on this site is another filter: a list of films that a grumpy, now-deceased film critic thought were the very best films during his lifetime. Many people thought he was one of the best and most stringent filters and so, like the best and most stringent Internet filters, he is of interest and use to discerning people wanting to sift the dross.
Whether anything else on Chewing Pixels fulfils Boing Boing’s wonder criteria is up to you to judge once you’re here and if you fancy looking a bit further. I hope so but, if not, take care and have a cup of tea on the house.
P.S. I will do an update on the Halliwell’s list soon as, with each new iteration, John Walker’s editorship seems to alienate yet more fans. But more on that another time.
*Source: The Long Tail by Chris Anderson.