Saturday, November 13, 2010

Can You Draw the Internet?

I grew up with dial-up. In 1998 at 12-years old I really only used the Internet to chat with friends on AIM. I may have researched a book report or two on, but the Internet wasn't totally clear to me beyond being a communication tool. The Internet connection regularly failed, mom would pick up the phone or it would just flat out crash, resulting in exaggerated pre-teen meltdowns because I'd be mid-instant message to the hottest boy in the 7th grade and get logged off. So I would sit, staring at the little yellow AOL man as he attempted to log me back on with the digital screeches of modems reconnecting. It was the dark ages. And nowadays the Internet is somewhat of an inconceivable abstraction. Creative agency Saint took this notion and wanted to expand upon it by posing a simple question - can you draw the Inernet? In a culture of grown ups who have seen the the role of the Internet rapidly evolve and creep into every cranny of our lives, business and socialization, we are overrun with the necessity and capacity of the Internet. Yet we can still recall times when the Internet played only a small role, if any at all - smart phones, for example, were first introduced in the mid 90's, and we didn't see our beloved iPhone appear until 2007.

But now, we've reached a place in time where there are young generations who have never experienced life without the Internet at their immediate disposal. Kids have an astonishing innate agility and affinity with technology. While I am still teaching my mother the concept of right-clicking, my boss tells a story of how his 4-year old daughter picked up an iPad during a trip to Best Buy and began to easily navigate the applications using a natural technology common sense.

Saint directed their creative challenge to members of the advertising and design community, and then, to a group of kids in primary school. The results were posted on November 12, 2010 and viewers can vote for their favorite representations. Not only is it interesting to compare the artistic thoughts of professional creative talents and those of some awesome kids, I also find it interesting to examine trends and interpret what makes the highest-ranking drawings "the best" in the minds of the public.

It appears that the front running designs all convey a simple, pointed emotion through analogies and visual representations that pertain to the role the Internet plays in human life. Even in the adult entries, the drawings that communicate a single-minded thought with emotional resonance, rather than convoluted social commentary or complex subtexts to wade through, were chosen as favorites. At the end of the day, there is no real winner because there is no single answer to what the Internet is and what significance it has. What we can tell, is that the saturation and reach of the Internet is becoming more of a second nature rather than an application we control.

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