I’m writing this from 30,000 feet somewhere over a big, flat state like Kansas going from SFO to JFK and loving the in-flight internet. The service is called GoGo Inflight and works really well, unless you want to catch up on your TV watching on Hulu (which doesn’t work well at all). I find myself wiling away the 6 hour flight online. Reading and posting clever stuff to Facebook. Updating my Linked In contacts. Catching up on Huffington Post and Tech Crunch. Shopping the App Store to see if Oregon Trail is available for iPad. Adding to my metropolis in Playdom’s Social City game. Looking at my Twitter feed. Checking out Etsy to see if the handmade quilt I like is still up there. Googling myself to see if the first item is still “Star Wars Galaxies, Anatomy of a PR Disaster” from the New York Times. (thankfully it’s not). Somewhere in all this surfing I realized that most of these services started since the year 2000. They’re Millennial brands. And they’ve become such a part of everyday that it’s hard to imagine work, or life, without them.
This got me thinking about other media brands and how they’ve come (and in some cases) gone. I grew up with NBC (channel 4), CBS (channel 9), ABC (channel 6), PBS (channel 26), and WTTG (channel 5). The Washington Post, The Star, and the Wall Street Journal were delivered to the house, as was Sports Illustrated, Motor Trend, Car and Driver, Time, Newsweek and Family Circle. Later, I got Cosmo, Glamour, and 17 and my brothers smuggled in a lot of stuff we won’t talk about. We had to go find our information and entertainment – subscribe or buy it because we understood the brand and what it stood for. This is very different than today, when the web companies know what we like and serve it up to us when and how we want it. This may be what defines these 21st century brands – they know who they are and they know who WE are. Pretty cool. Although it is pretty hard to know what to read first.