Category Archives: internet

How to be Popular on Instagram

I’m relatively new to Instagram, so perhaps this week’s Dustinland is a bit late to a subject other people have already touched on. Or maybe it’s totally original. Either way, I actually love Instagram and I’m not trying to poop on it. It’s just fun to find trends and patterns that people seem to obsess over—or really ways people game the system. I feel like everything about the Internet / social / mobile today is about gaming the system. “Best practices.” Tricks to get more followers. Maybe I’m just too cynical but it seems like for so many people, the fun is not in the doing but in the receiving of approval. I’ve touched on this before, and I’ll probably touch on it again, maybe because I feel the pull of vindication just as much as anyone else does. Otherwise I’d be drawing comics in a sketch book instead of posting them online, right?

Online Exposure

So, clearly in this week’s comic I am making fun of Buzzfeed, but I must admit, I don’t ever go to that site and they’ve never stolen my content. Some other big sites have though, and I think it’s all the same schtick. It’s not “stealing” if they give you attribution. That’s the theory. And, you know, of course exposure to a wider audience is great. The problem is that a very tiny percentage of these people will ever click through the links that make up these lists. Come on, you’re busy looking at “The 29 most interesting squirrels of the first half of 2013,” there’s no way you’re going to have the patience to learn more about one specific post on the list.

I will say though, it’s kind of a different topic, but it’s frustrating to see people call the Buzzfeed guy a genius. I mean, sure, he is a genius at making money but I think the Internet is full of sites that just aggregate pop culture references and memes and little tidbits that pander to the lowest common denominator… sites that gather rather than create. These sites know how to make money and make things go viral but it’s not art. It’s nothing new. No one gains anything from it. It’s just quick blurts of stuff, the equivalent of old school email FW: FW: FW: FW: chain letter often times. Meh, enough ranting. I think you know what I mean.

PS Most of these sites are super ugly as well. Just sayin.

Like This Comic

Like I said in this week’s comic, of course the Internet is a great thing—really one of the best things ever, an I mean that quite literally. But still, there is a sort of anxiety it has unleashed upon us. The more we share, the more we are constantly checking back to see if people agree or respond. And when they don’t we wonder why. Then we try harder.

A lot of people might not agree with this. They might say, “Hey, I share online with my friends because it’s fun. I don’t sit there worrying who will retweet me.” And they might actually believe that. But deep inside, they do care. Otherwise they wouldn’t post. That’s the thing—why share something if you aren’t concerned with the opinion of others? And caring requires effort. Sharing requires putting yourself out there to be judged. This is all stressful. Little tiny moments of stress throughout the day. That’s what many of us are doing to ourselves with all this sharing.

Just think about show and tell. What if you came to school, brought your favorite toy, stood in front of the class, showed and telled, and then no one cared. No one paid attention, no one asked a question, no one talked about it after. You’d be one sad kid. That’s what I’m talking about here.

The Six Hottest Apps at SXSW 2013

This week’s comic-type object was inspired primarily by my Twitter feed. Maybe it’s just the mix of people and publications I follow, but the sheer amount of interactive jargon dropping Tweets I’ve been subjected to over the past two weeks has been incredible. And there’s a ton of smart stuff and a lot of interesting links and all that, but you also have to laugh at this whole thing in a Portlandia sort of way.

This whole interactive digital movement, it’s all very futuristic and sci-fi, but instead of a dark Bladerunner Matrix future starring badasses in black leather and trenchcoats, it’s a nerdtopia run by a bunch of 20-somethings. And that’s cool — I’d rather live in a world of happy nerds than grumpy badasses. Plus, these days, some of the nerds are a lot cooler than the nerds were back when I was a kid. But ultimately, there’s only so much global interactive social buzz panel tech meet-up network currency you can hear without thinking up Onion headlines.

In With The New

I think everyone has a little Andy Rooney in them. That’s the subject of this week’s comic. Well, the subject is really our tendency to dismiss things that are new and different before truly giving them a chance and taking the time to understand them. I think whenever there’s a major change out there, whether we’re talking art or technology, for many of us, we want these things to be bad because we deep down inside, we don’t want to have to change. We’ve been doing something well for a long time, we’re used to it, we’re comfortable, and it works really well. Now all of a sudden some jackass has to come along and change everything! Well, I hate it!

And like I said in this week’s comic, the success of Twitter is what opened my eyes to this trend in myself. Musically, I’m pretty open minded, but I guess with technology it’s a different story. I’ve always been a late adopter, and now I realize why. With Twitter, I judged it without understanding how people use it. Now, it’s one thing to understand something and pass judgement. But I was truly ignorant about it. And once I realized how it works, I realized it’s a very valuable tool. Not a necessity for everyone, but something that can be really fun and useful.

Another personal example was Kid A. When it came out, I was pissed. I loved OK Computer. Then they follow it up with some bleeps and bloops. What is this pretentious crap? I want more Pink Floyd stoner rock opera! But then I took a step back, listened to it without comparing it to its predecessor, and grew to love it. But first I had to understand it. And that’s the key. You can go through life trying to understand things so you can appreciate them, or finding excuses to hate things so you never have to change.

April fools

In terms of this Dustinland.com satire site, I would just like to say this: I think it’s great when anyone is able to make a living through comics. Good for them. However, I also think that the comics is a great art form with a lot of potential— as well as a medium that’s been slow to get its due respect. So I find it frustrating to see so many popular webcomics featuring stick figures, sometimes without even facial expressions. It brings up the question: What is a comic?

Again, nothing wrong with presenting a good joke online. I think a lot of people have been thinking up some pretty funny stuff and are just trying to express themselves in a more visual manner. After all, content is king. But it also seems to me the word “comic” is being thrown around pretty easily these days, and that saddens me since I know just how amazing comics can truly be.

The Internet Crushes Dreams

I guess I’m being a little bit negative in this Dustinland about how the Internet can suck when it comes to making it big. I mean, obviously, it’s a bit ironic, since I’m using the Internet to make this point. Plus where would I be without the web (which is basically what I allude to at the very end of the strip)?

Well, for one, only bad things are funny. If I did a strip about how great it is when you get rich off the Internet, it probably wouldn’t go over very well. And second, it’s not necessarily the Internet itself that crushes dreams. It’s the Internet that lets people discover their dreams have already been crushed without them knowing. It’s really just the messenger. In many cases.

Also, I know that Angry Birds is significantly better than some of its predecessors for a variety of reasons. However, that doens’t make it any less frustrating for the people who made those other games that were so similar in so many ways.

And lastly, what do you think about the vertical format? I think I like traditional Dustinland more but it’s fun to experiment. I know a lot of people are doing vertically scrolling comics these days. It does allow for a surprise at the end, which is nice. But then it wouldn’t work at all outside the Internet. You know, like on paper. That stuff made from trees.

Hi.