A surprising Web 2.0 victory for Conde Nast
Yesterday, Conde Nast launched Flip, a sort of rich media social network for teens, and this raises all sorts of questions. Could it be that the most smugly low tech of old media laggards is quietly stepping into the future? It goes against our finely honed Innovators Dilemma instincts, but the thought had crossed our mind; especially since a certain highly placed CondeNet operative recently took The Browser aside and argued persuasively that the tech scene over there wasn't nearly as hopeless as vicious rumor would suggest. Fair enough: we must give credit for the success of Epicurious, the smart purchase of Reddit, and now the launch of forward-looking Flip.
Flip-style multi-media, you see, is in fact the future of teenage social networking. Say goodbye to two dimensional, static MySpace pages, and hello to Flash-heavy slideshows reminiscent of those Vogue-Elle-Seventeen collages that teen girls used to spend their weekends creating.
Want proof? At DEMO last week, one of the slicker presentations came from start-up VUVOX, creator of a multi-media authoring tool that promises to turn every amateur web page creator into an Adobe (ADBE) Photoshop genius. Honest to god, "Flipbooks" are in the same ballpark. Who'd of thunk the CondeNetties would be so up with the times?
Of course, it's a bit early to proclaim Flip a victory. Our dogged friends at TechCrunch, for example, have already noted some issues, like the fact that Flip isn't exactly over-protective of teen privacy. "Flip profiles are freely browsable and searchable," writes Michael Arrington. "This allows the site to create more networks and generates extra page views, but it also allows predators to browse profiles of young teenage girls."
That's a serious issue to be sure, but at least it's the sort of problem with which any self-respecting Web 2.0 player should be struggling.
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