This week I’ve been beta testing a new Web app called blinkBox that is designed to help you communicate with people using movie clips. I can’t remember exactly what possessed me to sign up to the service but I guess I was just intrigued as to how this would work. The simple answer is – it doesn’t.
The process is a simple one – choose a video clip, edit the length of it, write a funny message then send it to your friends. This revolutionary new communication technique is called ‘blinking’. According to the developers, Michael and Adrian, the site is designed for film and TV fanatics to celebrate their love of the screen with each other.
The most powerful tool we have to communicate who we are and what we do, is the emotional connection that everyone has to the properties we represent. The relationships we have with our favourite films, scenes, characters and songs form a profound emotional language that’s understood by almost everyone on the planet – friends, family and complete strangers.
OK, great. But my favourite film is Back To The Future, and there are no clips of this on the site. My favourite character is Teenwolf. No clips. My favourite scene is the one with the strawberries from Nine and a Half Weeks. Need I go on? Instead, the best ‘blink’ I could muster was a clip of Ian Botham fly fishing with an old man who looks like a hamster.
I’m all in favour of the social networking revolution but to me blinkBox clearly illustrates that we’re in danger of seeing a return to the bad old days of the dotcom boom when investors were backing any old hare-brained scheme only for it to fall flat on its face. What we need are web apps that make our lives easier or provide an online solution to an offline problem, not a made-up new way of communicating that just confuses people. Or am I stating the blinking obvious?