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Wired Talks Snacks

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Wired has a great new series of articles and a great snack timeline (click on Epic History and it'll pop up) that is not to be missed. Here's a clip from the feature article:
It was round. It was tiny. It was delicious. And it was about to change the course of American culture. In 1991, Nabisco unveiled one of its greatest - and most influential - innovations: the Mini Oreo. Shrunk to the size of a quarter, the Mini Oreo offered a unique and tantalizing proposition: constant consumption without consequences. The downsizing of the iconic treat - eventually repackaged in supersize resealable bags - cemented Oreos place as number one in the $3 billion cookie market. A major phenomenon was born.

Replace Nabisco with Apple, the Mini Oreo with the iPod nano, and youve got a blueprint for the current boom in what might be called snack-o-tainment. Apples single-minded marketing campaign for the iPod (its tunes - not albums - in your pocket, after all) taught us the joy of picking the choicest cuts and shuffling them into individual hit pdes. The same with television: When the video iPod launched in October 2005, we were suddenly eager to pay $1.99 to watch a music video or a recent episode of Lost in a smaller, portable version of what was already available for free on that big square thing in our living room.

Music, television, games, movies, fashion: We now devour our pop culture the same way we enjoy candy and chips - in conveniently packaged bite-size nuggets made to be munched easily with increased frequency and maximum speed. This is snack culture - and boy, is it tasty (not to mention addictive).

Neither Nabisco nor Apple was the first to distill things to their essence. Moses gave the world its first Top 10 list long before Letterman (on handheld tablets, no less). Old Farmers Almanac, Readers Digest, and CliffsNotes pared information down to pithy synopses. But cultural snacking isnt just distillation, its elevation. In 17th-century Japan, teenage poet Basho popularized the haiku, an early, lyrical version of the IM. Abraham Lincoln delivered his 272-word Gettsyburg Address in a YouTube-friendly two minutes.

Today, media snacking is a way of life. In the morning, we check news and tap out emails on our laptops. At work, we graze all day on videos and blogs. Back home, the giant HDTV is for 10-course feasting - say, an entire season of 24. In between are the morsels that fill those whenever minutes, as your mobile phone carrier calls them: a 30-second game on your Nintendo DS, a 60-second webisode on your cell, a three-minute podcast on your MP3 player.

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:01 AM |

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At 2/28/2007, Blogger P-Rob said...

Mmmm...reading that made me hungry.


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