@HistoryInPics, Atlantic Mobile: I love their stuff. And their story is really interesting …
There is a new ubiquitous media brand on Twitter.
No, I’m not talking about Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media or BuzzFeed or The Verge, or any other investor-backed startup.
I’m talking about @HistoryInPics, which, as I discovered, is run by two teenagers: Xavier Di Petta, 17, who lives in a small Australian town two hours north of Melbourne, and Kyle Cameron, 19, a student in Hawaii.
They met hustling on YouTube when they were 13 and 15, respectively, and they’ve been doing social media things together (off and on) since. They’ve built YouTube accounts, making money off advertising. They created Facebook pages such as “Long romantic walks to the fridge,” which garnered more than 10 million Likes, and sold them off. More recently, Di Petta’s company, Swift Fox Labs, has hired a dozen employees, and can bring in, according to an Australian news story, 50,000 Australian dollars a month (or roughly 43,800 USD at current exchange rates).
But @HistoryInPics may be the duo’s biggest creation. In the last three months, this account, which tweets photographs of the past with one-line descriptions, has added more than 500,000 followers to bring their total to 890,000 followers. (The account was only established in July of 2013.) If the trend line continues, they’ll hit a million followers next month.
The new account has gained this massive following without the official help of Twitter, which often sticks celebrity and media accounts on its recommended-follow list, inflating their numbers.
As impressively, my analysis of 100 tweets from the account this week found that, on average, a @HistoryInPics tweet gets retweeted more than 1,600 times and favorited 1,800 times.
For comparison, Vanity Fair’s Twitter account—with 1.3 million followers—tends to get a dozen or two retweets and favorites on any given tweet.
I’ve got about 140,000 followers and I’ve tweeted more than 30,000 times. I can’t remember ever having a single tweet get retweeted or favorited as much as the average @HistoryInPics tweet.
@HistoryInPics, Atlantic Mobile, copyright, media: I’m clipping this article twice. Interesting legal issues and analysis.
The audiences that Di Petta and Cameron have built are created with the work of photographers who they don’t pay or even credit. They don’t provide sources for the photographs or the captions that accompany them. Sometimes they get stuff wrong and/or post copyrighted photographs.
They are playing by rules that “old media” and most new media do not. To one way of thinking, they are cheating at the media game, and that’s why they’re winning. (Which they are.)
I interviewed Di Petta on Skype and got him to walk me through the details of building this little empire of Twitter accounts. As he openly talked through how he and Cameron had built the accounts, I asked him how he felt about criticism that they didn’t source or pay for images.
“The majority of the images are public domain haha,” he responded.
So I said, great, let’s look through the last five together. And not all of them were in the public domain. So, I said, “How do you think about the use of these images?”
“Photographers are welcome to file a complaint with Twitter, as long as they provide proof. Twitter contacts me and I’d be happy to remove it,” he said. “I’m sure the majority of photographers would be glad to have their work seen by the massives.”
I pressed him on this point. Shouldn’t the onus be on him and Cameron to get those rights from the photographers they assume would be grateful?
“It would not be practical,” he said. “The majority of the photographers are deceased. Or hard to find who took the images.”
Then he said, “Look at Buzzfeed. Their business model is more or less using copyright images.”
I said most people in the media don’t appreciate Buzzfeed’s interpretation of the fair use exemption from copyright law. “The photographers I know would want me to ask you if you see anything wrong with profiting from their work?” I asked him.
“That’s an interesting point,” Di Petta responded. “I feel like we’re monetizing our traffic, but they would see it as we’re monetizing their images.”
“They would say, ‘Without our images, you have no traffic,'” I said.
“They do have a point,” he conceded. “But whether we use images X or Y, there will be traffic to the site. But I can see their point of view.”
In this logic, Di Petta echoes the logic of all social media networks.
Facebook, Twitter, and (especially) Pinterest all benefit from people sharing copyrighted images. Visual content—none of which the companies create themselves—drive almost all social media sites. And they pay for none of it.
Humans of New York, lawyers, profession v. business:
“I’m not sure I’d recommend that a young person go into law.”
“When I was starting out, it was more of a profession, and your worth was determined by the service you provided. Now it’s become more of a business, and your worth is determined by the fee you’re able to collect.”
via Humans of New York.
Maira Kalman, What I choose to illustrate and why, YouTube, Inktalks.com: Ok, so I love Maira Kalman …
Published on Feb 6, 2014
http://inktalks.com Celebrated illustrator and author Maira Kalman believes that everything that delights you needs to be documented. Sharing images from a range of her projects, Kalman talks about her curiosities and inspirations. Exploring the themes that matter to her the most — time, work, and love — Kalman fascinates us with her wisdom, whimsical illustrations, and her clever trick to slow down time.
“What protects you in this world from sadness and from the loss of an ability to do something? … Work and love.”
Maira Kalman is one of the most beloved illustrators working today and one of my greatest heroes, a singular spirit living at the intersection of art and philosophy. In this fantastic talk from India’s INK Conference, Kalman takes us on a journey into her wonderfully idiosyncratic mind and expansive soul, revealing along the way the poetic and profound universalities of our human triumphs and tribulations.
polar vortex 2014, frozen Chicago: One of my favorite places seen from a different perspective.
Like This Page · March 3
Great shot of frozen Chicago!
MASTERPIECE | Downton Abbey Season 4, Unsung Heroes of Downton, Isis, PBS, YouTube: Isis! “The bitch gives you nothing!”
Which Rory Gilmore Are You, Buzzfeed:
Which Rory Gilmore Are You?
You got: In Puppy Love Rory
WB / Via homeofthenutty.com
You’re young and in love! Nothing can stop you! Keep that feel-good attitude going for as long as you can. Everyone around you must be pretty happy for you, too.
Time Magazine, New Look, Cool New Ad Format, Re/code: I mentioned Time yesterday and its humble beginnings as a clipping service. I love that it is still evolving.
Time magazine is going to have a new corporate home soon, when its parent company, Time Inc., spins out from Time Warner. And today it has a new digital look: Time’s website has been overhauled, and you should be able to see some of the changes tonight and the rest tomorrow morning.
As always, it makes more sense for you to go look at the site than for me to describe it to you — in particular, so you can see a mind-bending interactive photo taken from the spire at the top of One World Trade Center and an accompanying video and story (those should all be up by Thursday morning).
art, classic paintings, world cities, Google Street View, in pictures | Cities | theguardian.com: Absolutely loved this!
Classic paintings of world cities meet Google Street View – in pictures
Following on from his amazing series last week, here are Halley Docherty’s latest collages for us – well known historical paintings of city scenes around the world, from Istanbul to Saint Petersburg and Tokyo to New York, superimposed on to Google Street View
NC General Assembly Moral Monday protesters, NewsObserver.com, Institute for Southern Studies:
Institute for Southern Studies
“The Raleigh attorney argued that no witness called by Wake County Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Cameron touched on a key element for trespass crimes — the owner of the property. ‘In this case, Judge, you have to be told this is the property of another,’ McWilliam argued. ‘This is not the property of another. This is the very property of the very people who were on the property that day.'”
startups, Tuft & Needle, Amazon’s No. 1 Mattress, Re/code: I love a good startup story!
When Daehee Park and JT Marino left the tech startup they worked for to strike out on their own, they looked for a different pace, perhaps something in an “old-fashioned industry” ripe for change.
They landed in mattresses.
The industry, dominated by the big S companies – Simmons, Serta and Sealy — was an unlikely target for two digital entrepreneurs. But Park and Marino, the founders of Tuft & Needle, borrowed a concept familiar to the tech world they fled: That it’s possible to make money producing a better, more affordable product by cutting out the middlemen and controlling prices.
On that foundation, their mattresses, which are sold directly to consumers from their website and on Amazon and come with high-touch customer service, have soared to the top ranks on Amazon.com. The company’s products are not only the highest-rated mattresses sold on Amazon, but also the highest-rated product in the online retailer’s giant furniture category overall. Tuft & Needle mattresses have received 188 five-star reviews out of 212 in total.
It is paying off as well. After generating $1 million in sales in 2013, the company’s first full year in business, Tuft & Needle’s revenue hit $500,000 in January and February of this year alone, and it is on pace to clear $5 million in sales by the end of 2014. It’s a drop in the bucket in the $7 billion dollar U.S. mattress sector, but it is a category that rarely sees five-times growth.
The company is also profitable, the founders said in an interview.