Social Networking goes micro-niche
First there was MySpace. Then Facebook. Now travel aficionados can gather on wayn.com, MOG.com is a music maven’s haven, handmade craftsters and social shoppers go to Etsy.com, elhood.com is for Hispanic culture, social biographers gather at dandelife.com, and younger kids and tweens get together at down-aged upstart Imbee.com. A little something for everyone!
What began in 2005 as blogs and podcasts has quickly spread to share-sites and videos. The YouTube phenomena gave both name and context for contributors everywhere. Now the idea of people creating and sharing is moving to the next tech level. Microsoft has launched XNA Game Studio hoping to further build the gamers’ community through what else? Building games!
Graphic Novels become elementary
If Nancy Drew can do it you can too! That seems to be the sentiment in children’s publishing these days. Goosebumps and Babysitter’s Club have become graphic novel staples in Scholastic’s special imprint Graphix, dedicated to the genre. Not only have graphic novels gone mainstream, they’ve also gone classroom. Stone Arch Books has an entire line of mystery, sports, science fiction, fantasy, humor, and realistic and historical fiction in graphic novel-style geared for the reluctant reader.
Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!
All things iPod, though not necessarily Apple-approved, have cropped up as cool tech accoutrements. Even the specialty toy industry has gotten in on the action with the soundwave-swimming, dazzle-dancing, light-changing, iPod-connecting iFish, and the blooming Flower Pod, a rainbow-ready collection of blossoms that hook up with sound. Not to be left out, even Junior’s nursery needs are met with iCrib, a safe attachable speaker system for rock-a-bye babies.
Rock of ages
It was only a matter of time before new parents needed a reprieve from Raffi, the Wiggles and even Mozart. Call it the ‘Metallica Effect’ if you will! Hip rocker parents are taking toddler music into their own hands. From hard rock lullabies to full live orchestrated videos, a new esthetic is evolving. The musical tastes of parents are being passed down to their children one guitar lick at a time.
Big Blue Dot (bigblue.com) is a kid-centric design company works on strategic and creative development of great kids’ products from educational materials to websites and corporate identities. The company’s client roster includes Disney, Nickelodeon, PBS Kids and Viz Media.