If you condense the images of the Internet, you get an orange smear. But nobody is sure why.
Today, Jim Bumgardner is the director of application development at Disney Interactive Labs. But almost 10 years ago, he stumbled across a puzzle that would confound him. When layering hundreds of Flickr photos, he found that, again and again, the images became a consistent, bronze blur. He named his montages Bronze Shields. They looked like pizza shells.
To this date, neither Bumgardner nor anyone else has proven why the images of the Internet, when layered and averaged together en masse, round down into a tarnished orange glow Bumgardner dubbed “emergent orange.” But Bumgardner, collecting ideas from researchers and peers across the web, has suggested four theories:
Meet the creators of the Meaningful Content Fund, who would like you to click on this important story, not that cat video.
What is the meaning of the Internet? Is it a moving narrative about a boy whose brain could unlock the mystery of autism, or is it a gif of a litter of kittens riding a Roomba, falling off one by one?
Most Internet users—from casual browsers to hardcore Redditors—like to think they are above clickbait, yet inevitably we are all lured into posts like “35 White-Girl Mysteries That Desperately Need To Be Solved.” It’s a Sisyphean fight to rise about mindless listicles and misleading stories that overpromise and underdeliver, but one renegade group has been leading an underground charge to right the Internet’s wrongs. Okay, so it’s more like a confab of white-collared execs in the publishing and tech industries who email each other a few times a week—not exactly Internet vigilantes—but can they help create a more meaningful Internet?
“My first reaction was that at least in some respects the ‘digital divide’ idea was collapsing,” says Erkan Saka, an assistant professor of communications at Bilgi University in Istanbul. “At least in terms of connecting the web, all citizens in Turkey are finding ways to connect.”
A designer for Tumblr says Tumblr is blue, and “dark,” because nobody notices blue. “Everything’s blue,” he says. “Posts are bright on that blue background and lifted up with shadows.” Blue is for the parts you “don’t need immediately.” You can make your Tumblr any color you want; it will appear that way to you, and to people to come directly to your page on their own. Your Tumblr doesn’t have to be blue until it shares space with others.
Internet, Why So Blue?
The sky suggests infinity but the little screen on dad’s phone seems to supply it. What is the answer, then, when a child asks: Why is the internet blue?
“As the publishing landscape expands across multiple devices and multiple platforms, it raises a few key questions. Are pageviews still the best metric? More importantly, do they tell the whole story to advertisers? Today, a handful publishers would argue that the pageview is increasingly becoming a dated notion.”
“Everyone knows that multitasking doesn’t work. It’s inefficient, and stunts creativity, productivity, and emotional intelligence. Yet, we all do it—I have seven tabs open right now, and the task bar looks pretty roomy to me. Fast Company has offered its readers various "monotasking" hacks, but Tabless Thursday might be the most accessible step in the right direction for a happier, more productive you. Here’s a useful guide to joining the movement.”
With the support of the American Civil Liberties Union, Google, Reddit, and other organizations, Reset the Net asks developers to add security features, such as HTTPS and SSL protections, to deter spying.
“We fundamentally believe that in order for our species to advance—for humanity to get to the next step in development—that no one can be denied a certain level of education and information. If there is a curiosity it should be satiated.”
On March 12, 1989, the visual layer of the Internet was quietly revealed, fundamentally changing the way we communicate, research, consume and share media, waste time at work, and, well, do everything else really. It was called the World Wide Web. To celebrate, we’ve put together a purposefully brisk and oversimplified history (trust us, you don’t want to see the unabridged version) leading up to its now 25 years of existence.
Kaliya Hamlin, or Kaliya Identity Woman, as she’s known, is a driving, entrepreneurial force for a new kind of ethical data economy: One that puts control of our personal information back into the individual’s hands. Join Fast Company reporter Sydney Brownstone as she chats live with Kaliya on Friday, February 7th at 1pm Eastern.