It became obvious, when the designers of Blimg sat down to develop their staggeringly popular social network, that each successive wave of such sites could be explained through one very clear prism — less work made for more interactions. To put it another way, the less the user had to do, the more frequently they would use the site, and the faster Blimg would spread.
This trend can be traced through the young life of the Internet. For the first decade, most social networking occurred on message boards and forums. These were quite intellectually demanding places — discussions were often esoteric and hard-fought, and so remained popular only among a certain small fraction of the population that felt rewarded by such interaction.
Then came the era of the personal website and the blog. While still demanding as a means of expression, such sites allowed users to write at their own pace, undaunted by the often voracious arguing and fact-checking that was common in message boards. The social network was the linked lists between blogs, and the requirement for entering into that social network was the production of writing. The investment was significant.
Blimg’s most direct ancestor, however, is the Facebook poke. Ahead of its time, the poke represented a pure, thoughtless action on the part of the user — saying nothing, signifying nothing. A social grunt. It was often mocked as a functionless feature — we did not understand at the time that it was, in fact, the future of social interaction online.
The first appreciable shift in this balance between production and intellectual investment came with Twitter. One-hundred and forty characters left zero room for complex writing, contextual thought or advanced concepts. The masses flocked. For the first time, internet networking spread to the non-technical user. The bloggers of the world sat back and folded their arms, confused — how could a site that allowed nobody to say anything of consequence become such a popular social tool? What was the point in writing nothing, repeatedly, forever? And reading other people’s nothings?
But, the trend had begun. Simplification was the order of the day. It was found that users could be reduced to nodding birds, switch-flickers, and that the ease of use would entice users rather than repel them. ‘What is the point of Foursquare?’ we asked. Of course, there is none. Yet, we still tapped that button.
Blogging gave way to Tumblr. Flickr gave way to Instagram. These new forms of our old network models demanded less thought, less time, less appreciation. They grew popular because we have less time now, but somehow we still spent more time on them. As our machines grew ever more complex, our interactions with them simplified.
Blimg, now the world’s more popular social network after only eighteen months, is the near end-point of this process. Why stretch oneself to write one-hundred and forty characters when you can simply Blimg? The network models Twitter in its simplicity and ubiquity, but removes that final spark of intellect the old model still required. We follow Blimgers, and are followed by Blimgers. All around us, in parks and train stations and restaurants, we can see people pull out their phone and Blimg their followers. It is quick, clean and undemanding.
We are not quite at the end-point, however. Blimg’s developers last week hinted at their vision for the future of the network at a star-studded event in Silicon Valley. New mobile products with simple brainwave recognition are very close to consumer-ready. Apple is rumoured to be including the chips in next year’s iPhone. Blimg, due to its ingenious interactive simplicity, is likely to be the first to make use of this technology. Users will simply have to think of Blimg to Blimg, marking the final shift of the social network from an outmoded apparatus for user expression to brand awareness tool.
To be aware of Blimg is to Blimg. Why wouldn’t you Blimg, when all you have to do to Blimg is Blimg? There will be no barrier to entry. No intellect, no creativity, no ideas, but most importantly — no effort required. The true egalitarian future of the Internet is near, and users couldn’t be more relieved.