Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ten Best Websites of 2010

Here's a blast from the past article I wrote for Helium back in the day in a year-end review of 2010
1. Twitter-Sure, Mark Zuckerberg is the man of the year for Time Magazine but Facebook has largely been the same over the past few years. To the unfamiliar, twitter seems like a trimmed-down version of facebook with just status messages. However, twitter is in some ways a greater tool for the user to connect with other people. Facebook’s interactions are largely limited to people you know in real life. An exception is the newly added fan feature which allows you to hear news from famous people. Twitter, on the other hand, is far more efficient on this count: Information is streamlined better and it allows you to be a fan of anyone. What’s more, it allows other people to be a fan of you. Twitter is the place for important figures and celebrities to connect with people and for people to connect with each other. It’s also a terrific tool for gaining and receiving real-time.
The rest of the top ten in no particular order:
2. Tumbler.com-It could potentially be characterized as a forward evolution from Blogger.com and WordPress.com. It fuses the advantages and rewards of blogging with social media. People can do the equivalent of retweeting content and blogs that they like. As an added benefit, tumbler’s system provides a solution to intellectual property issues that arise when one blog wants to quote the content of another, since reposting someone else’s blog directs the traffic to the original source in a way that is entirely beneficial.
3. Foursquare-Foursquare has been a most welcome remedy to one of the main problems of the internet. The internet has constrained us all indoors and taken away the importance of place to some degree. Foursquare has once again reminded us of the benefits of leaving the house and circulating to different spaces to our own personal health, the economy, and society in general. With foursquare, visits to mundane places like the pet store or Starbuck’s now have value in and of themselves because Foursquare has turned circulation and movement into competition. 
4. Collegehumor.com’s Video Section-The website is devoted to content that’s humorous and skewed towards college students. Some parts of their site are stronger than others. The humor writing isn’t as strong as other brands (cracked.com, theonion.com, etc.) and it can be unrelatable if you’re not currently undergoing college yourself (recurring topics for articles include hook-ups, distance boyfriends, video games, RA’s, dorm life, and beer). The original video department, however is at the forefront of internet comedy. This group of twenty-somethings with very few TV or film credits on imdb.com (except the short-lived College Humor show that MTV pullled after six episodes) produces comic videos and sketches that are more prolific and often more inventive than Saturday Night Live. The folks at college humor have been marketed very well, are user-friendly and have created a distinct brand of several different series: There’s a web series satirical of office politics called Hardly Working and a very popular odd couple series called “Jake and Amir,” in addition to parodies of the internet (look up “Internet Commenter Funeral” “Web Site Story” or “Professor Wikipedia” on youtube).
5. The AV Club.com-The release of at least three popular books this year, “AV Club’s Inventory” “My Year of Flops” and “The Big Rewind,” two of  which are based on features from this website, solidifies the AV Club as one of the best sources for informative and witty writing about movies, tv, books and pop culture in general. The AV Club began some 20 years ago as a companion piece to the print edition of the onion and it has taken a brand of its own, particularly online. One of my favorite features is “Random Roles” where an actor is asked to riff on a random selection of items in his filmography. Since actors are usually on the press circuit to plus their current projects, it can be a very interesting look. The website reviews TV shows episode-by-episode within hours of the show’s release and sparks lively discussions. The site averages 75,000 comments per year.
6. Daily Beast-An online newspaper of sorts that aggregates some of the best writers in print and on the internet.  Notable political names such as Condolezza Rice, Tony Blair and Meghan McCain have also written for the site. The models created by the Daily Beast and Huffington Post have been copied many times over by other content-based sites on the internet (Both aol.com’s fanhouse and aol.com’s TV squad use this model) and has even influenced newspapers in their online presence. The website pays top quality writers and because the writing is consistently good and informative, it pays to visit the website frequently when looking for content. The site merged with Newsweek Magazine this past year
7. Deadspin-Sports reporting has long been a stale institution. Quotes from athletes are usually cliché and uninformative and beat writers are usually stuck with stale conventions. Deadspin has been very successful at unearthing the darker and edgier stuff in the world of sports. They are often the first to break and cover scandals and devote time to negative publicity about athletes stories that are often too small and insignificant for larger papers to cover (i.e. a Chicago Bull being rude to some waiters in a restaurant).  They had a contest recently in which they wanted whatever evidence they could get that NCAA football and basketball players were highly unintelligent and wasting dollars of tuition money.
8. Linkedin.com-If jobs are all about networking, than linkedin.com is the place to go for that. It allows you to post your resume and make connections with people you’ve worked with. A few employers use the linkedin page to aide with the job application process and I hope to see this trend consider substantially in the future.
9. Flowingdata.com-According to the website’s own description: “FlowingData explores how designers, statisticians, and computer scientists are using data to understand ourselves better – mainly through data visualization.” In other words, the web site is a display of how information can be presented creatively. It rarely disappoints at being uninteresting and spans a wide variety of tidbits on geography, consumer spending, internet trends and more.
10. Walkjogrun.net-Is it me or has recreational running exploded among adults as of recently? I think it’s because our jobs are more automated and, by and large, we are getting a lot less exercise at work. Running stores and running magazines have become very profitable and so has this site which calculates running routes and connects you to other runners who are running along that same route. Another excellent site about the running community (we can call this 10b) is www.flotrack.com which has interviews and videos of world-class races.

2 comments:

George Moshe Metatron said...

Nicely done essay and it raises an interesting question about whether or not positive changes and insights leading to character growth might be completely antithetical to what made the series a success to begin with. For instance, I was reflecting on the Tobias-Debrie plot from the new season and saw a possible way the story could go: Debrie might redeem herself by using her skills as a lawyer to win a multimillion dollar lawsuit for Tobias for his wrongful sex offender humiliation. A lesser sitcom would no doubt go for the usual happy ending like that for those characters, but we've been primed to expect an optimistic cluelessness from Tobias, and he's funny precisely because we don't expect his lot to improve substantially. We love these characters because they stay the same, in keeping with series' title.
But Hurwitz must have seen ways in which the characters could change while still remaining true to the original concept. This partially explains the "blowback" to season 4. I personally found it beautifully intricate and undeniably ambitious. It's out there taking chances and not all of it works, but there were many bits that didnt work in the original either (Graft vs. host comes to mind). Still it's easy to forgive the occasional stumble because it's still so much more clever and superbly acted than practically anything else out there. I recently watched Hurwitz's Running Wilde and the David Cross series The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margert. Both had humor and characters similar to AD but lacked the charm that AD magically possessed that made people fall in love with it. Hurwitz has not been able even remotely to approach the level of devotion AD generated. Netflix offered him and the cast a golden opportunity that allowed for creative freedom Hurwitz never had with Fox, which was always breathing over his shoulder. This often led to the "subversive" humor in the Fox original (as in Pier Pressure, concocted because Fox execs felt Michael should teach George Michael "a little lesson").
Some suggest the new season's pacing is off and it will be interesting to see if Hurwitz takes this criticism to heart when mapping out Season 5. Still, I trust Hurwitz's vision for these characters, and the dream cast playing them, that I will gladly follow AD in any direction it chooses to go in the future.

Jennifer Aguiar said...

arwsome, my whole family is addicted into it,Arrested Development: Winner of the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy its first year out, Arrested Development is the kind of sitcom that gives you hope for television. It's one of those shows where you can watch over and over and still laugh at every joke.Arrested Development Seasons 1-3 dvd box set follows the fictitious Bluth family, a formerly wealthy and habitually dysfunctional family, and is presented in a continuous format, incorporating handheld camera work, narration, archival photos, and historical footage.