Orangina is the new orange
May 1, 2000 9:13 PM   Subscribe

Orangina is the new orange All right, I tried to blog this and keep finding dead ends. Can someone please point me to permanent bookmarks of conversations (i.e., monologues) on A-list blogs like powazek.com and n-list ones like psionic.nu declaring that "[colour] is the new orange"? ΒΆ (At the Toronto bloggeur f2f, we engaged in ironic discussion of the fact that our blogs are not on the A-list and never will be, though I argued that merely contributing to Metafilter gives us exposure among the A-list crowd  in effect, a social-climber/arriviste argument for which I do not apologize. Miss Emmajane wasn't present for the ironic part, however. I am familiar with the argument that one who blogs as a ploy for readership is a failure. I agree. But blogging and being the only reader is, frankly, onanistic. I speak as someone whose blog is linked to by a grand total of three others. I'm not sure there are ten people on earth who regularly read what I write. I'm OK with that, but I'd love to be more... popular! Discuss. But give me the orange link first.)
posted by joeclark (23 comments total)
there is no A list.*

so anyway. orange.

in 1997 or so, a lot of websites were redesigned, and coincidentally, a lot of them were #ff6600 (a few brave upstarts daring to use #ff9900 instead). it caught on in the print world, too: for a while, ads and magazines were orange.

a complementary green enjoyed a brief vogue (christopher.org for instance) but did not establish roots as deep as orange.

it's held pretty steady in spite of the blue-green thing that came in around late '98. and the monochromatic grey thing that was creeping in all along, but probably got its biggest boost from virusone.dk (and then k10k.net).

through it all, orange has hung in there, so now it's "back" without having left. like "women who look like women" "comes back" when some fashion editor notices the obvious. (which is that women have always looked like women.)

i think it's one of those things (orange, i mean) people know about and discuss without its ever actually being documented anywhere.

like nobody wrote an article about the whassup phenomena, as far as i know. it just happened. we can trace the sites that did it first if we have the spare time (i don't), but it was never formally announced. (a friend who spent the weekend in long beach, long island, tells me that kids were shouting "whassup!" from their cars as they drove along the strip friday night. stuff just catches on.)

*NOTE ON "NO A-LIST:" unless you mean kottke and peterme, who seem to have self-consciously blogged first. (then again, macintouch and userland came before those sites; they just didn't call it blogging, as far as i know. and i've read that the first website, tim berners-lee's proof-of-concept, was a daily list of annotated links. though what the hell was he linking to, if his was the first site? i guess this is one of those messy questions, like who were the parents of cain and abel's wives? best not to look too deeply.)

i assume by "A-LIST" you meant "first to market." if you meant "popular," well, that's not necessarily the same thing. A-LIST implies "superior," and that's not always directly correlated to popularity.
posted by Zeldman at 10:08 PM on May 1, 2000

Question to Tim Berners Lee: what came first, the link or the log of links?

But seriously folks...

I'm called "one of the orange guys" and I can tell you it might look trendy, but there was never a concerted effort. It just sort of happened to everyone. It started when I decided that I wanted to stop producing blue websites. Every site I did from 1997 to 1999 had at least one shade of blue dominating it, and I wanted to break out of that, do something bolder. I actually started out with several designs in yellow and black, classic high contrast colors, but eventually moved across Photoshop's color picker to the orange section when the yellow and black proved to be *too* loud for text.

As for popularity, striving for it, asking about it, or analyzing it are the three biggest wastes of time imagninable. Wait, that's a bit harsh - watching Eyes Wide Shut and Starship Troopers were bigger wastes of time (but not by much).

Just go out there and do your best, if it's good, people will come. You don't need to spam people, you don't need to join webrings, and you don't need to post links to your own site repeatedly and with regularity on MetaFilter. Just write compelling things, design engaging sites, and create wonderful places on the web and people will flock. It's very simple, and seriously, worrying about popularity, jumping on bandwagons, and checking your stats daily is a tremendous waste of energy. Channel that energy into pleasing yourself and creating a great site.

"I am familiar with the argument that one who blogs as a ploy for readership is a failure"

Are you familiar with the argument that one who blogs themselves on MetaFilter as a ploy for readership is a failure?
posted by mathowie at 11:12 PM on May 1, 2000

I think that the "orange" phenomena comes from something pretty simple - there are only so many attractive websafe colours, and you get mighty tired of looking at site after site that makes use of Metafilter blue, for instance. So, in your quest to make a site (sight?) that is a bit different than the madding crowd's, you choose an appalling background colour and use your extensive design skills to mitigate that colour's evils. Synchronicity, combined with the fact that many sites don't regularly redesign, trends many sites into the same colours in clusters. Voila, you get many sites that "suddenly" sport a similar colour scheme.
posted by Willy-Yam at 11:22 PM on May 1, 2000

I used to blog myself on metafilter all the time. It took everyone getting pissed at me to make me realize that I shouldn't do that. Oh, and if you ever come up with a spam scam, even if it's just a joke.... don't make it public. Keep it in your head.

Those are the two most important things I have learned: No self-blogging on metafilter, and No spam scams.
posted by premiumpolar at 11:30 PM on May 1, 2000

I'm not sure that it's entirely true that one should disregard popularity and
its importance...

While the web is a massive world, weblogging is relatively very small. The
"A" List you refer to is primarily made up of innovate, creative people whose
sites have reached and are read by a much larger, more diverse community than
just link-hungry webloggers. There are many people who read kottke,
powazek, etc who barely know what a 'weblog'
is. They visit the site not because of webrings, reciprocal links, or ebrayish,
crudely disguised selfposts on metafilter
People read those sites because they offer them something that they can't find
anywhere else; be it links, commentary, pictures, ideas, design...Sites the
aspire to please other webloggers are trapped in form and convention, with no
room to actually interest people outside the limiting genre.

What weblogging's box inside a box does offer you is the best chance since
maybe 1996 to make a purely personal site that actually gets attention, visitors,
and most importantly an audience. If you make something people are really interested
in, interest in the site will grow quickly. If it's somewhat interesting, it
will grow slowly. If it's not at all interesting since you spend all your time
trying to make it popular, and not that much time trying to make it good, it
will wither and die a lonely death full of desperate entreats to one-named friends
who don't return your email, ignore your instant messages, and don't even notice
that you've linked them again. The underscore to all of this is that one of
the best things about the internet in its purest form (of which weblogging is
a distillation in the murky times of egetrichquick
) is that cream almost always rises to the top...

At the bottom, of course, is the circle of hell reserved for those who spend
their time writing critiques of other people's weblogs, but that's a whole different
posted by s10pen at 1:22 AM on May 2, 2000

You do get the award for best use of onanistic.
posted by chaz at 1:40 AM on May 2, 2000

> you get mighty tired of looking at site after site that makes use of Metafilter blue <

Strangely enough, I thought I was orange, but then to my horror, I realized that I am metafilter blue! Aack! How did I not notice that before? (My blog was created, for the record, before I was introduced to metafilter).

Methinks I will be reversing my colors ASAP.

posted by fooljay at 9:41 AM on May 2, 2000

Greetings from the seventh circle of Hell where, in the next 24 hours, I'll be doing something very very orange and very very new. (I don't know about Pyra, but I can think of a business model for Metafilter... charge a fee for blogging yourself)
posted by wendell at 10:39 AM on May 2, 2000

It looks like green might be the new orange.
Maybe white and yellow are the new orange?
Yellow is the new orange.
Yellow the new orange? Naaaahhh.
Well black was the original orange! Try that one out on your color circles!
I think Derek said "white is the new orange" (re meg's redesign) on 4/26, but he must have changed it, or I imagined it. Ev did say it, though.
Prol said something about orange being the new orange, but she was talking condoms, and apparently she was also talking flavor. You go, prol!
The Webmistress hinted at the orange blog battle that was raging, but I don't think any of the combatants said anything about [x] being the new orange.
For the record, I think Squant is the new Orange.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 11:20 AM on May 2, 2000

What came first, in T B-L's ur-weblog? Links to gopher sites, of course.

In which there is no orange.
posted by holgate at 11:27 AM on May 2, 2000

so... amber was the original orange?
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 11:28 AM on May 2, 2000

orange has certainly been in and out of site fashion for years, but i remember starting a conversation at sxsw where i asked what was with the trend for orange weblogs. everybody said "what trend?".

sigh. i never get recognized when i start memes. or that i had a weblog *months* before peter and jason...
posted by brig at 12:19 PM on May 2, 2000

Wait, does that mean peter is the new brig, or that brig is the original jason... damn. Which one of you is orange?
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 12:27 PM on May 2, 2000

i was trying to be ironic when i blogged those things above - part of the joke was to say that a few things were the new orange. anyhow it's more a comment about the not-so-funny fashion cliche - "well this season it looks like gunmetal gray will appear in all the hipsters' wardrobes - it looks like it's become the new black!" which was always quite ridiculous.

just by way of explanation in case kind mr utsler's links to blog entries i made implied to others that i gave a damn.
posted by mikel at 12:59 PM on May 2, 2000

I am confused by what A-list means here. Some webloggers are friends, so they refer to each other in their blogs and post pictures of each other and talk about parties where (what a coincidence) they all go. Do they actually have a higher readership? I don't know. Does this necessarily make them more popular? I hope not. Does this make us, the readers, voyeurs? Well, yes.

But what about Robot Wisdom? I have heard it has more readers than any other blog. Does that make it "A-list"?

Some weblogs are cool, providing insightful commentary and interesting links. Others are like the scrapbook of a fourteen year old girl who can't decide which member of N'Sync to marry. They are, on the whole, an interesting hybrid of personal webpages, message boards and site-o-the-day sites. But I think it is too premature to place a rigid definition what it means to be "popular" within the weblog community. The medium, if you can refer to a weblog that way, is constantly molting.
posted by birgitte at 1:42 PM on May 2, 2000

you go, girl.

i was trying to figure out what "A List" meant in this context as well, but i think i just muddied the waters.

and slept in a hollow log.

at least i'm thankful that this thread stopped being joe-slapping day.

the credit for #ff6600 should go to netscape, for mathematically subdividing RGB space in order to cope with 256-color monitors. this ended up giving us 216 mainly ugly colors, of which #ff6600 was perhaps among the least ugly.

though, you know, it's how you combine them that makes them all beautiful. or not.
posted by Zeldman at 2:29 PM on May 2, 2000

That's what happens when you let mathematicians make decisions about graphic design.
posted by harmful at 2:46 PM on May 2, 2000

So what's the new "transparent"?
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 5:38 PM on May 2, 2000

Good lord. My two least favorite threads in one: popularity and orange.

fwiw, here's my two cents:

on the a-list nonsense....
There is no such thing as popularity on the web. It's a level playing field. That's the whole point, remember? Stop paying attention to who's linking whom and just do what you want. Make yourself happy. That's what it's about. If there is an a-list, it only exists in your head.

on the foo is the new bar nonsense....
I never considered powazek.com to be "an orange site" since I only used #ff9900 in one place: the logo. And I never said anything was the new orange in a non-ironic way. I just think that whole X-is-the-new-X genre to be funny as hell. If anyone started it, it was fashion magazines fifty years ago.

As always, your mileage may vary.

-- Derek
posted by fraying at 5:44 PM on May 2, 2000

Use whatever color you like. It's your page. Makes sense?
posted by corpse at 6:42 PM on May 2, 2000

frayed sez: "If there is an a-list, it only exists in your head."

You will probably NEVER know how good that remark made a lot of people feel here.....

It took me a long time(and a lot of bitterness) to realize that the excitement comes when you put the spotlight on SOMEONE ELSE, rather than yourself (hey, look at {fray}, right?). Sites totally fixated on themselves crash & burn on a daily basis, forgetting the fundamental basic rule#1 of the web: We're ALL linked.

Support your friends, they support you... and worlds start making crossovers.

Wow. The web is getting more and more reality based every day. :0)
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 5:03 AM on May 3, 2000

for five years, my front page said "you are number [COUNTER]. not that popularity ensures quality."

if you offer something people find interesting, they may visit. if you don't, they probably will not.

"popularity" is meaningless, and the pursuit of it is a terrible waste of energy.
posted by Zeldman at 10:29 AM on May 4, 2000

>not that popularity ensures quality.

That's always been my favorite thing on your site. Truer words were never uttered.

>"popularity" is meaningless, and the pursuit of it is a terrible waste of energy.

I would argue that this is not always true. Popularity for it's own sake is rarely rewarding, but if you've got something else in mind, it can be quite useful.

Jeffrey, your sites and the stuff you write elsewhere is pretty popular and has been that way for quite a while. That popularity has allowed your work and your ideas to spread and has opened up some doors that you wouldn't even have known about without it, no?
posted by jkottke at 11:58 AM on May 4, 2000

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