During the year that Ze Frank was doing "The Show," his daily online video program, he created an online social network called the ORG. It was a place for his fans (with various nicknames like Sports Racers, Duckies, The Flock, or members of the League of Awesomeness) to congregate, celebrate their love for Ze, contemplate why he never blinked, show off their creative work, and collaborate with each other.
I had been contemplating writing a post for this blog about online social networks for artists and I was going to mention the ORG. I don't see the point for most of the networks - I join them (myartspace.com, 723.com, artscuttlebutt.com, indiepublic.com, etc), post some images of my artwork, look around at other members for a while, log off, and forget about it until someone posts a comment or friend request.
But the ORG was different. It wasn't an art social network per se, but a lot of the members were very creative in some way - artists, musicians, poets, writers, photographers, filmmakers, designers, illustrators, etc. And others were scientists, engineers, students, and self-described geeks and nerds. The thing that brought everyone together was a desire to connect with other like-minded people and create something new.
ORG members could post photos, videos, writing, and links to their blogs. Members were encouraged to leave short, positive comments. You could also send messages to members via the ORG's message system. Oh, and I don't think I mentioned what I liked most about it - it looked really good. The complete opposite of MySpace, which is so full of ugly (on many levels) that I can't even begin to describe my loathing...
And it all seemed to develop and grow organically. It started very basic but as people commented on the features and functionality, new things were suggested, added and tweaked all the time. It was fun to watch it grow.
One of the collaborative aspects of the ORG were the projects. Any member could create a project and invite other members to join in. Some were based on things Ze mentioned in his show and others just came out of nowhere and got a life of their own. Often someone would post a photo or video, other people would connect with it, play off of it, post something else, and something new and wonderful would be born.
I have to admit that I wasn't as active an ORG member as some. I don't know how to do video (and quite frankly don't want to see myself on video!). I mostly posted some photos, perused the photos that people posted and commented on them. I would "quack" at people (I guess it was the ORG's version of a nudge, wink, or friend request). I would read some of the blogs and occasionally watch a video. There was one young guy from New York that posted some beautiful poetry... Oh, and I really enjoyed the Secret Santa project this Christmas...
OK, so why am I in mourning? Because when I tried to log in to the ORG on New Year's Day, I saw this:
... and it never went away. And I was sad.
It had became a real community. I felt like I had some friends there. I was a fan of many members and looked forward to their contributions - dangeramy, oldgrimy, viscousplatypus (still the best username ever), astropixie, imagine, blissee, awed job, snooge, ohkatherine (incredible photographer)... So many! A bunch of the ORG members are planning a get-together in Chicago this March at QuackerCon 2008...
Luckily I had some ORG member emails and some ORG contacts on Twitter and Flickr, so we were able to stay in contact while we figured out what happened (in fact, I've been enjoying our Twittering these last few days...)
Some of the more industrious (and smart) ORG members are scrambling to create a new place to meet. Right now it's called PostORG. ORG members are coming together and offering their talents to help create something new.
There was discussion on the forum about trying to get the code for the ORG to bring it back up and have someone else maintain it. But I love the idea of us creating something new. And of course by "us" I mean all those smart people who know how to do that sort of thing...
So if you were a member of the ORG and want to reconnect with it, go to PostORG or send an email to email@example.com.
Or if you want to be part of something new and awesome, watch The Show first, and if you like what you see, then hop on board.
And if you do join, look me up. I'm enchiladaplate, of course.