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misteraven

Weigh In: Has the social media revolution devolved conversation?

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Going to try and start a new series of posts and see how it goes. I'm going to try and pick timely topics and hot button subjects and pose a question so you guys can weigh in and throw in your opinions. Obviously we won't all agree and likely, there's no easy solution. The goal is to apply logic, reasoning and if possible, objective evidence and study so we can discuss and debate in our small corner of the interwebz and see if we might be able to solve the worlds problems.

 

Current topic... Has the social media revolution devolved conversation?

(Previous topic or use the search to search thread titles for "weigh In".

Now for specifics... Some of you guys are old enough to remember AOL chat rooms, MySpace, BBS's and when forums dominated. Many of you were around back 5+ years ago when the 12ozProphet forum literally had hundreds of users logged in at a time and popular threads felt more like chats since since by the time you submitted a comment, there were several unread ones before yours. I can even remember when everyone was complaining that 12oz had gotten way too big and there were so many new names that it felt like a crowd at the airport instead of a tight-knit community... The good old days!

 

As many of you guys also know, I've been focusing on 12ozProphet full time for over a year now. We relaunched the forum maybe 1.5 years ago with this new system and finally solved the registration / login issues that all but destroyed the forum for the few years before that. Many people have told me I'm wasting my time and that forums are done. Obviously our community here has taken a massive hit (putting it lightly) and that our numbers hardly scratch the surface of what they were back in the days. Everyone and their mother is on Social Media, used to be solely Facebook, now it seems to be almost entirely Instagram. Seems like the majority are also too young to remember the good old days of literally being at your desktop for hours at a time, chatting with people from around the world well into the wee hours. Sharing photos, creating memes (before that was a term), forming friendships, trading knowledge (and sometimes packages) and always weighing in, discussing and turning each other on to new ideas and content.

 

So now that I've laid some groundwork, on to the specific topic of this thread... I've been noticing, for what I feel a fair while now, that most people don't seem quite as satisfied by social as they once did. Its mature enough as an idea and technology that the novelty has certainly worn off and its just another facet of modern life. Everyone and their mother is on social, but I've noted the behavior is much different... In the chat room / forum days it was long sessions, mostly uninterrupted. Now its checking in constantly for a few minutes at a time like a sort of intermission throughout daily life. Likewise, long detailed comments, conversations / dialogues spanning days / weeks / months (and even years!) are so long in the past, it seems young kids cant even relate. *The few exceptions being 4chan, reddit and gamers.

 

With politics having been center stage for the last few and everyone being an expert these days, I can see a definite desire to converse, but the main platforms for doing so are very poorly conceived to that end. Limits on character count and a model that is built around a steady stream, it seems its all about double tapping, dropping an emoji and keeping shit moving. The big players in the social space might spark thousands of comments, but all of these are super condensed and also built to be double tapped to like more than organized to allow for ongoing discussion. Within moments in some cases or an hour or so at most, comment threads are buried as more photos clog the stream. Hashtags allow you to hunt down topics, but its clearly not developed the way old school online conversations were developed so that a subject can remain active and engaging until collectively all participants move on to a new, more exciting discussion or topic. In fact, even the metric for how successful engagement is measured is far different than the old days.

 

In any case, recently I've been watching that AMC original, Halt and Catch Fire and it reminded me of the old days and also reminded me a lot of what I've been considering or working on with 12oz. I have wrestled with the idea of whether it was worth the time, energy and money to keep this forum going and for one reason or another always qualified keeping at it, even when it was painful to keep paying to keep it alive. Lately my thought is that I feel the world is ripe for a resurgence in forum type systems. 4chan and reddit are powerhouses which shows they havent entirely disappeared, but I can see how longer format discussions can feel like exciting and novel to kids too young to remember when that was mostly the online experience. Likewise, older cats still seem nostalgic about those old days and in general as busy as everyone is, meaningful conversations with other human beings is still an important part of life.

 

There's no doubt that we've lived a number of years where conversations, knowledge and content (and many other aspects of life) have been dumbed down, condensed or abbreviated to 240 character blurbs, a tap, swipe or something equally brief. Seeing such a massive stream of condensed info has turned everyone into an expert on just about everything. Perhaps some people will chose to go on believing that about themselves rather than put it to the test by engaging in the long format, meaningful online discussions that forums allow for but I do believe that we've reached a point where it makes a lot of sense and seems ripe that it might go full circle with forums or something forum-like might start replacing social media platforms. I sort of see it like watching a steady stream of movie trailers, versus committing the time necessary to actually watch the full movie.

 

Anyhow, what are your thoughts on this? Am I crazy for thinking the way I do? Has the endless steady stream of bite sized, easy to consume (and digest) content / thought / opinion totally devolved our ability to engage in real conversation... To explore ideas and topics in detail, contrast and debate, understand new stuff in more meaningful ways, build super solid, long term friendships that often spill into the real world?

 

Side note: Since I am committed to preserving the 12oz forum and due to the views I hold on the subject (that I just spent 6,305 characters above explaining, I've been steadily looking at ways to improve the forum. The current forum is mobile optimized, but admittedly the expectation for the mobile experience is very high considering how mature and capable smart phones have become. Better than 50% of the traffic we get originates from mobile and I'm aware that if I can't get that right, the forum will never really succeed to the levels I aspire to. Likewise, though stable and though performance is solid, I'm not crazy about the feature set. There's a ton of bells and whistles we don't even use and lots of basic shit missing. I'm also not crazy about the development path of this forum system and have a different platform in mind that I'm seriously considering replacing it with. Obviously any changes will only occur if ALL data can be preserved and migrated, but I'm looking at an option now that I think is a better fit. It solves a few stupid issues like the sideways photo orientation when attaching images to comments from a mobile device, has a more modern layout and has some other features that I think make a lot of sense. Its nothing earth shattering that'll turn 12oz into the next Instagram, but is an evolutionary step forward, in my opinion, and hopefully helps facilitate (or at least strengthen the argument) for the return and growth back to prosperity of the 12ozProphet forum.

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A very interesting and relevant discussion on Reddit about the death of the HypeBeast forums. Definitely both sides of the argument and some insights that are similar to my own.

 

Link:

 

Curious of any of you guys were ever on the HypeBeast forum or any other major forum for that matter? Anyone presently a fairly active member of Reddit or Discord?

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Also for anyone wondering about thriving forums that are true forums and not some VC back behemoth like Reddit, check out: http://www.kanyetothe.com/forum/

 

Just checked and there were over 2000+ members logged in and 5000+ guests lurking. Insane numbers! I think at out peak we'd see something like 1200 people and at most might have seen a spike barely above 2000 users including logged in users and guests.

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Speaking as someone who was here during the heyday of this site, and as someone who thinks they know everything.... while things have absolutely changed, in many ways i feel for the worse, I'm not sure its possible to go back. subcultures do not exist as they used to. access to information is available to everyone at all times, that diminishes the need for community in the way we had it here. we were a huge group of like minded individuals who often felt at odds with our immediate surrounding. that is less of the case these days I'm afraid. now, even if you hate instagram (as i notoriously do) you're likely still a part of it. you still have information coming at you all the time at breakneck pace. what used to take months to cycle through, now happens in a matter of hours and is forgotten just as quickly. its difficult to imagine a message board keeping up with that.

 

i don't know about anyone else's habits, but i barely even touch computers anymore. i had to dig my 9 year old laptop out from under a pile of books then track down my charger just to reply to this thread. yes, i could have done it with my phone, but no matter how well a site works on a 4' screen, the physical constraints of typing with thumbs into a claustrophobic box makes constructing thoughts more difficult. you have less patience both to read and to write. id honestly have never made it through your initial post had i been on my phone. "TLDR" too long didn't read. on top of that, i think people also just have less need to go to websites at all. i can't remember the last time i checked to see if a non-commercial (shopping) entity even had a website? and maybe there are still an army of folks with desk jobs looking to kill time while they collect their check, but i don't really know those people. my life is far removed from what it was 18 years ago (holy fuck!!) when i spent 10 hours a day on this site. i kind of doubt that those who are now in the position we all were back then... they've never communicated as we have. they don't know what they're missing, so will have no desire to recreate it, ya know? they're fine with the way things are, it's all they know.

 

im not sure if any of that really answers anything. i'd love to see forums reemerge, but thats also largely from a place of nostalgic romance. i don't have the time to take part in them, even if they did. which isn't to say this is a lost cause, but it will never be what it was. graffiti is not what it was. a kardashian make up forum may do great now, but graffiti? does anyone even give a fuck about graffiti? posting your own work on here used to be an instant disqualifier, now every writer has an instagram and a paint sponsor. people love street wear. they love to buy and consume. no one creates, and absolutely no one creates just for the love, at cost to themselves...

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Speaking as someone who was here during the heyday of this site, and as someone who thinks they know everything.... while things have absolutely changed, in many ways i feel for the worse, I'm not sure its possible to go back. subcultures do not exist as they used to. access to information is available to everyone at all times, that diminishes the need for community in the way we had it here. we were a huge group of like minded individuals who often felt at odds with our immediate surrounding. that is less of the case these days I'm afraid. now, even if you hate instagram (as i notoriously do) you're likely still a part of it. you still have information coming at you all the time at breakneck pace. what used to take months to cycle through, now happens in a matter of hours and is forgotten just as quickly. its difficult to imagine a message board keeping up with that.

 

i don't know about anyone else's habits, but i barely even touch computers anymore. i had to dig my 9 year old laptop out from under a pile of books then track down my charger just to reply to this thread. yes, i could have done it with my phone, but no matter how well a site works on a 4' screen, the physical constraints of typing with thumbs into a claustrophobic box makes constructing thoughts more difficult. you have less patience both to read and to write. id honestly have never made it through your initial post had i been on my phone. "TLDR" too long didn't read. on top of that, i think people also just have less need to go to websites at all. i can't remember the last time i checked to see if a non-commercial (shopping) entity even had a website? and maybe there are still an army of folks with desk jobs looking to kill time while they collect their check, but i don't really know those people. my life is far removed from what it was 18 years ago (holy fuck!!) when i spent 10 hours a day on this site. i kind of doubt that those who are now in the position we all were back then... they've never communicated as we have. they don't know what they're missing, so will have no desire to recreate it, ya know? they're fine with the way things are, it's all they know.

 

im not sure if any of that really answers anything. i'd love to see forums reemerge, but thats also largely from a place of nostalgic romance. i don't have the time to take part in them, even if they did. which isn't to say this is a lost cause, but it will never be what it was. graffiti is not what it was. a kardashian make up forum may do great now, but graffiti? does anyone even give a fuck about graffiti? posting your own work on here used to be an instant disqualifier, now every writer has an instagram and a paint sponsor. people love street wear. they love to buy and consume. no one creates, and absolutely no one creates just for the love, at cost to themselves...

 

@seeking

 

Oh wow, I know I DM'ed you to check this out, but honestly wasnt expecting you to login and post the reply. At most I'd hoped for a fairly cohesive DM back. Thank you for making the effort. Made my evening to see a post with your name next to it.

 

That being said, I wasn't clear (or maybe not thinking) if I said or implied that I could or wanted to reproduce what once was. I know that was another era and that each timeframe has its own unique signature to help define it. I also definitely recognize that all of us in our 30s and 40s certainly have had way too much piled on our plates to think anyone will be willing or able to come back and spend significant time on here. At best, I hope maybe a couple posts every now and again to chime in, catch up or drop something relevant is about all I can hope for. I definitely recognize that times have changed and the world, as well as all the people in it, have continued to evolve. To have a chance at making this work, it'll also need to evolve and that the future of it is dependent on entirely new generations of members to engage and interact.

 

I don't think forums are entirely dead, even in the classic sense however. That Kanye forum above is exponentially larger than 12oz ever was even at its peak. Picking through it, it looks like something from the Geocities era with only the most rudimentary consideration towards design and the most basic of features. Yet it has exponentially more users than 12oz had even at its most successful.

 

I've actually got a son old enough to be able to use as a case study. In fact, he registered an account on 12oz today after school. He's online most waking hours that he's allowed. He's hardcore into gaming and constantly in chat rooms or whatever else. His most frequently visited site is Reddit and he has accounts on Imgur to upload photos. Honestly, he's a very close approximation of what you describe us as having been, which is also how I remember it. He has an IG account he barely uses and instead spends all his time in subreddits having to do with old school gaming consoles, game cheats, memes and stuff like that. After posting this thread, I had him read it when he got home from school (which is what compelled him to register) and then we spent a good bit of time discussing the subject. Honestly, I was sort of surprised by how much it all sounded the same as those old days despite all the new tech and evolving approaches to online interactions.

 

Somewhere in some other thread someone said that the future of 12oz is in new fans / followers / members and based on your response, what my son had to say and my own instincts and insights I believe that to be the case. No doubt the forum will need some changes as well. I have no doubt it'll take a lot of commitment and effort, as well as luck, but I definitely think its doable and feel if we have a pretty amazing heritage to start building from.

 

In any case, I really appreciate you going out of your way to swing through and drop your point of view man. Hopefully you wont shove that laptop back under those books and maybe stop back through and say whats up when you have a few minutes and the inclination.

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There was a change in society and in the culture and unfortunately the 12oz crash occurred about that time. People's social media habits these days are their own fault, and I don't mean just frequent usage but the whole look at me, I do graffiti aspect as well. People need to maintain their own ethics and standards regardless of what goes on around them or what other writers do, but the power of people to do stupid shit in groups is pretty strong and you end up with monkey see, monkey doo-doo. On social media people are emboldened because there really aren't mods to control content and there are numerous examples of people doing shit that would never, ever fly in old 12oz days. Even more unfortunate, plenty of it is done by experienced heads that I would never expect to see doing some of the stuff I see being done, and these our our (graff's) leaders (sort of).

 

I think part of the problem too is that society has allowed a lot of things to be taken from their natural environments, like a personal or company web page, and has thrown that out to social media outlets, where anything goes. I could be articulating this a bit better but for me, why would I want to post on IG, where i essentially hand over all my content to I don't even know who, when I can keep it in the culture and just post on 12oz?

 

Also have to say that society has allowed itself to get groomed for this and was sucked right in. You really don't need your phone half as much as you think (people still think?) and you really don't need to hand your data over to IG, FB, Twitter, etc. Definitely killing the art of conversation, and learning as well.

 

Thought re: Reddit, gamers, etc., these still kind of represent fringe groups that don't have a wider mainstream acceptance and the nerds, dweebs, dorks, and outcasts of the world still need a place to go.

 

Again, I don't use, nor have I used, any of these popular social media outlets, so I'm probably behind on some things. I imagine that if Stephen Hawking had a social media account that he might make some worthwhile posts with something to say, but that's outside the norm. I also have to imagine that people who still choose to use their intelligence might actually do shit like write letters or hold conversations, it's just not seen or noticed as much because it doesn't occur on social media and social media is where people look expecting to find things these days even though there is a whole internet out there.

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Like Seeking, I've come to loathe social platforms like Instagram. I removed my Facebook account because I had over 500 'close' friends whom weighed in on personal posts from time to time, as if we really were close friends. I found it interestingly uncomfortable, and slightly violating. The weirdest thing about closing that account was that the person most upset about it was my mother, because she felt we wouldn't talk as much were I not on Facebook (we talk on the phone every Sunday, always have). So I opened a new account just so she can share her thoughts, memes, recipes, and Candy Crush scores with me. It's odd. My Instagram account has stalled because I can't be bothered. Every once in a while I find an old drawing or something that I think would be cool to share, but mostly I just look at other folks images, mostly following cycling/motorcycle related accounts, painters, and sculpture makers than I do Graffiti writers. I keep the account open because somehow people still find my work relevant and I'm able to sell a print or painting every once in a while, which I'm quite thankful for. I'm sure at some point I'll start creating new work to share but I'm not stressed about it. Honestly, it's nice to create work when I feel the urge and not because of a deadline, but that's another conversation.

 

To the point...

 

Forums were the way we used technology when we were twenty-somethings. It was our thing, it's how we all met, how we engaged, how we conversed, how we grew up. As expected technology grew and with it new platforms. Today's twenty somethings are growing up with the current stock of sharing media and find those platforms relevant compared to a forum. I think most kids relate forums to the comment section of any article online, like Hypebeast, which is littered with the most vile, hateful shit... all from some 18 year old who thinks he's bad because he wears an overpriced 5-panel hat.

 

I don't know that the 12oz forum can get back to its heyday but I think you're right in believing that folks might be ready for something new, even an old platform. The only reason I believe that is because whenever I'm in a bar or restaurant or walking down the street, I'm constantly hearing people talk about current events and they all believe they're experts. I think a forum is a great place for them to voice their opinions as opposed to Instagram or Twitter, but the problem will be getting folks on board. Honestly, I didn't even know Twitter was still a thing till a few months after Trump was elected.

 

I think the biggest hurdle is that everyone uses their phone, now. If a forum can be optimized for a 4" screen that would help but even then you're not going to get solid conversations going because no one is going to want to type 2000 characters using a tiny keyboard that constantly auto-corrects. Or maybe it's just me.

 

I do miss the time I used to spend on here and wish I had the time to get back in and spend at least a few hours a week, but my current spare time is so limited that I cherish those few hours by not looking at a screen, and instead I choose to hang with my wife and/or friends and talk face to face. I know, I know... that's some OG shit.

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@One Man Banned I agree with a lot of this, especially the bit about people not needing their phone half as much as they think they do. It began as a tool of convenience and became something else. There's addictive qualities that have already been studied and reported, not so much about the phone itself, but rather the apps and more specifically the social platforms. There's a thread somewhere else where we talked about it and posted a Youtube video that literally should have people deleting Facebook.

 

But also, times change and so does content and how its consumed. Look much further back we see how radio replaced newspapers, then TV replaced radio. Later still we see TV being replaced by the internet and then see large parts of the internet falling to the weigh side due to social media. No doubt time marches on and both technology and culture evolve. The platforms that don't evolve with those changes, largely become irrelevant and disappear into obscurity. I really don't think that was the issue with 12oz necessarily.

 

12oz as a website fell off because of me and some very poor management on my part. I've dropped threads in the past explaining bits and pieces of what happened, but will summarize it for those too lazy to dig it out and for the newer people lurking that wouldn't know where to start.

 

I'm going to go into a long winded story so bear with me or skip it if you arent interested... Kind want to get some of this out there (sort of therapeutic) and also share the official record (at least from my point of view / experience)

 

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Probably the start of the troubles was in the winter of 2009 (I think or maybe 2010). I was pretty exhausted from a few years of building up an agency that sort of dropped into my lap after a successful collaboration with Nike. At the time, we were building to be one of the main agencies doing product photography for Nike, had managed to pull off a real cool space in downtown NYC. I lived right around the corner in a cool Soho loft. I had two young kids and was doing my best to juggle all of it. 12oz was already freakin huge as a forum and was costing me something like $2,000 - $3,000 a month just in bandwidth, software licenses, etc. It occasionally made a little money, but generally that required someone to follow up and invest a bunch of time doing something for it. We had advertising, but at best that would only cover the hard costs of the server and certainly not cover any salaries like the people needed to design, develop, debug and evolve it. It also didn't cover any of the content production, blogging / news or any of that. Meanwhile, the agency was doing very well, but the costs of keeping it growing and competitive in downtown NYC generally grew in lockstep with the growth in revenues. The stakes kept growing along side the opportunities and it was getting harder and harder for me to keep allocating time and effort into the site, which had grown into a behemoth at that point. Anyhow, there was a lot of stuff slipping through the cracks and the core team of moderators that was still the heart of the forum were growing increasingly frustrated with me, my decisions and my lack of support. In hindsight (being 20/20) it makes a lot of sense, but at the time I was just tired and stressed and had been burning it at both ends for a long while. The added stress of being responsible for a family (especially young kids) coupled with the success on the agency side and all the praise I'd get from people at Nike and even from a lot of *important* people locally all led to me handling the situation wrong. Egos got in the way, tempers flared and I essentially turned my back on the forum. I tried my best to explain what was happening without getting too deep into explaining my personal life and at the time felt that it was impossible to understand my end without actually being there and seeing it. At that time we were practically living in the studio. I technically lived around the corner, but it wasn't unusual to pull an all nighter or three back to back to meet some insane Nike deadline. Likewise, we were shooting unreleased product that was subject to extreme confidentiality agreements and often in the middle of closed door meetings with Nike and others to discuss strategies and executions for major hype product releases and trying to keep up with the various dinners and parties where a lot of the work and opportunities actually originate. Literally hardly looked at the forum for a year. In fact, I was going to shut it all down after a big blow out with some of the mods in the mod room and it was a phone call with @Joker that had me hold back. After time away, a lot of the mods had largely drifted off or at least weren't on hard core like they had been and I'd had enough distance to decide to step back in. The blog roll was doing really well, we were managing news by largely injecting stuff I was doing with the agency as content, but collectively it still hardly compared to the forum even then. Hypebeast was getting bigger and bigger, sites like Honeyee were getting a lot of attention and with my focus and future still riding on the agency I felt the only way to keep the site going was to sort of overlap it. I took a huge chunk of money I came up on to hire a developer full time who was tasked with helping me rebuild the framework of the site and to create a unified login / user session to bridge between the site and the forum. The framework effort was a disaster... The technology was really changing fast and we went from DHTML to the start of a massively improved HTML and CSS spec which wasted a lot of time, energy and money when we had to redevelop a site that was outdated before it launched. Meanwhile the kid helping with all the server stuff (a tech at the place I used to colocate my servers before we started cloud computing) talked me into switching setups. Said he could bring costs down while also way improving system resources which was obviously appealing. That move turned out to be a massive mistake. Our previous server at least was super stable and plenty fast, it just cost me a ton. The new server cost me almost as much, was probably more powerful but never ran properly. I can only assume it was a misconfiguration, but this is the era where the forum kept crashing. I begged this kid over and over again to help and off and on he kept making changes, blaming the website and then making more changes. I doubled down on development thinking I'd launch the new site somewhere else once we got it built and especially once we created the user bridge. My focus was also still mostly on the agency and all the client work. Ultimately the kid building the bridge was woefully unqualified to be doing it. I'm sure the server issues didn't help and also the forum at that point was a tangled mess of code from various patches, features and fixes. Between those two things, we managed to break the login so it was nearly impossible to stay logged in. People would be constantly booted out and the hack to clear sessions was so stupid and convoluted, few people bothered or figured it out. Meanwhile the agency work and opportunities grew and the news side was taking over as far as ads because at that time advertisers were worried about placing ads in the middle of user conversations because they feared shit talk next to their logos. So shit dragged out like that for quite a while. The server crashes occasionally corrupted stuff so we'd have to roll back the database or wipe sections of it that obliterated posts and threads. I think it was the destruction of the tattoo thread that was about the time that @seeking and @King Of Hell finally threw in the towel, which I'd guess was also about the time their careers were also starting to hit their stride.

 

Anyhow, shit languished badly. I was still scrambling trying to grow the agency, was doing more and more with Os Gemeos and just trying my best to hold it altogether. After a time, I started really feeling guilty about the forum, was unsure about where the blogs were heading and the news was actually starting to do pretty well, but nowhere near the type of growth as Hypebeast and HighSnobiety. So from there I decided to give another crack at rebuilding everything. I didnt have any extra money and understood it was probably going to be a solo effort. A major release dropped from the developers of the CMS I was using (ExpressionEngine) and after a lot of research and testing and in fact working directly with them, we redeveloped the site AND forum using their new software since it actually allowed for native integration between the site and forum. I was excited, thought I'd learned most of what I needed and had taken my lumps. I literally spent a little over a year on it and dumped another small fortune on it by taking it from the agency. Finally launched it and the shit collapsed. There was some inherent flaw the database queries not being isolated so that the forum traffic, despite being a fraction of what it had been, completely crushed the server. Their CMS was pretty solid, but their forum system was garbage. Since they were excited that I'd be the largest forum using their system, they directly got involved and we worked for a few months to try and patch their forum software to get it working. Meanwhile once again I came off like a dick by announcing a new website and not delivering. Literally like the 4th or 5th time doing that and though it seemed some of you die hards were hopeful, most didn't believe it or trust what I was saying. Took me about another year to redevelop and hand migrate all the data from ExpressionEngine to WordPress and move the forum to yet another system, which is the one we have now. The main site was rushed despite taking so long and a lot of the features were shitty hacks that eventually caused issues with the news and blogs. After some more time I decided to go back and try and fix it and realized it was just such a mess it wasnt worth it. I'd already lost the news / media platform war, assuming I was ever really a contender and the blogs literally required a full time effort to stay in touch and support those guys. Plus there were huge technical hurdles to create a way for so many people to login and separate some people's posts and uploads while allowing others access. Again, it was all shitty hacks since there really wasn't a solid built in way that was any good.

 

Around that time I began to really question all I was doing. The agency was at a point where I was just totally exhausted from having juggled so much and burning it at both ends for years. I wasn't even sure if thats what I wanted to do and it took a breakfast meeting with one of my first employees ever to open my eyes to most of this. Somehow along the way, I'd lost site of what 12oz was and what it was I was good at. I got caught up in the tech / online revolution and was genuinely excited by all of it and thought I could be a player in my little corner of it. Between all of the efforts with the site and agency I'd lost site of it all having begun with the zine (product). That the entire reason all of you guys even had a chance to be on this forum at all or that 12oz was even a conversation this many years after the fact, was because of those early successes with the zine. All of this stems from that and though I'm probably my biggest critic, I'm pretty proud of the vision and accomplishment we pulled together with it. I really enjoy the process of seeing ideas come to life. I get more excited than is reasonable when that shipment of new stuff arrives and still get blown away when I run into people or hear people talk about the products I put out. So after all the drama, I decided to switch focus entirely to 12ozProphet and have maintained that the product should be the priority, which is why the site is mostly just a shop. Its been a little over a year since I started focusing full time (minus some stuff helping out my father and law and a couple people). I have 10 lifetimes worth of ideas and have really enjoyed exploring concepts and testing the waters with these releases. Admittedly, I've hardly scratched the surface and am only barely starting to fall into a rhythm with myself on it, but its already shown plenty of evidence that if I can hold shit together for long enough, that its possible (if not very likely) that I can tip this over into something pretty big.

 

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The forum is sort of that exploration / thought process continuing full circle. I still have faith because I still continuously run into people that are genuinely excited / impressed by 12ozProphet. Young kids that have stepped to me to say its their favorite *brand*. Older, established people that say it encapsulates some of their fondest memories as a kid or is representative of a special era in their life.

 

Meanwhile I've also noted how fed up and / or unsatisfied so many people are with social media. How there seems to be this huge disgruntled and frustrated undertone. How people are bombarded from all angles, have everything at their fingertips but are just bored or unimpressed by it all. I have a lot of theories, mostly what I've been posting in this thread, but thought it made sense to explore it and discuss it with you guys.

 

Its also been sort of like some sort of therapy to put all this out there and to also reach out to a few very old friends (starting with @seeking and @Joker as they were both pivotal in the story of the forum) and get a dialogue going.

 

Anyhow, sorry to run so long. Hopefully those that invest their time to read all this will appreciate the insight or at least be entertained for a few by the story of it all. I'll keep reaching out to a few more old friends and if you know any OG's please do me (and all of us) the solid of sharing this thread. If they happen to want to chime in and can't access their account, please DM me on their behalf of have them email info@12ozprophet.com

 

Thanks for reading.

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Wow, that was allot of information. Like every other dinosaur on this site, I hate Social Media as much as I hate the "Look at me, and pat me on the back" nature of posting your own stuff. With that said, I too was guilty of indulging in the FB/ IG world for a while, but quit cold turkey about three years ago. I don't miss it, and realize that despite being disconnected, I still manage to hear the important news (deaths, births, etc.) without having to wallow in everyone's personal tragedies, and calls for prayers, and attention. I was around for the entire "Behind The Music" episode of 12 oz, I've seen the rise, the fall, the comebacks, and everything in between. I've often stated that there will never be a meeting of minds and talents like what we enjoyed in the Moderator rooms. It was a cross section of every relevant contribution to the Graff culture in one place, sharing things behind the scenes that the rest of the community could only dream of. Balls were busted, Egos were smashed, and life long friends were made. I spent more hours than I care to admit moderating threads from places that I'd never heard of, and expanding my knowledge of what was happening around the World. I'm really conscious of the generation gap, and the difference between the 40+ Class and the teenagers of the world. I meet writers all of the time that wouldn't have survived during my era, and feel more and more like an out of touch old dude yelling at kids to stay off of his lawn than a writer. Ironically I'm painting more now than I have since the 80s, yet I'm more out of touch than ever. I would love to see the site as a whole make a comeback, and would support it in any way that I could. I just don't know if kids nowadays have the attention span to build something, or whether the veterans are willing to spend the time.

 

Shit. Did I make a single point?

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Once again, I'm really blown away by these comments and fact that more original members than I'd have thought are willing to take time out to stop through and leave feedback on the topic as well as share some personal detail and perspective from their end.

 

I've started reaching out to a few more OGs, as well as some other people that played a part in this story. If nothing else, I think its worth something to document all this in a place where people old and new can read it straight from the people that were there. Likewise, I'd like to ask the favor of anyone that happens across this thread that knows anyone else that was around back in the day, key figure or just an everyday member, to swing through.

 

Though I'd love to hear additional perspectives and opinions on what you guys all think about this, I also welcome any questions anyone has about all this. I've tried to be as thorough as possible in my explanations, short of boring everyone to tears (I think), but if you want any extra clarification or detail, just ask your question.

 

Thanks again to @seeking @Joker and @dekayfa for dusting off their usernames and contributing to the story and dialogue. Hopefully we'll see a few others stop by and continue the history lesson.

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Hi all,

 

i've had an account on various forums throughout my years in this culture of ours. I had an account on 12ozprophet since 2010 but lost it. I've had an account on hypebeast since 2012 and an account on KTT since 2009. All of this because of the glorified strip mall in Los Angeles that is Fairfax ave. i discovered 12ozprophet from the Supreme Rizzoli book, and was curious as to what 12ozprophet was and what it meant. Los Angeles held my heart and my fascination because of the creativity pouring out of it.

 

Forums are dying because of one reason: attention span. Scroll up and i see some of the most interesting insights i've ever read. I can't think of any one person younger than 25 who would read that. Social media today is bought and changes depending on the demographic paying for it. We tend to forget what we initially used forums for in the first place. We used forums to cheat at school, cheat at videogames, talk to insiders, get info on drops, advice on how to get ahead, advice on creating and destroying. The unfortunate part is, noone past our generation needs that kind of community anymore. Creativity is left to those who keep their eyes on the hashtags, look out for what's popular, and to copy paste.

 

Forums died and yet, no vacuum was created. But i have hope. 12ozprophet struck a new chord with me. One that feels more mature, older and wiser. A forum i can actually relate to.

 

_operation_condor_

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Nostalgia is a motherfucker, and often skews my perspective on things. I often find myself plotting reunions, trying to get the crew to interact, and wishing that i could somehow bring back the glory days. Timing is usually the biggest hurdle, as my peers all have families, careers, hobbies, and distractions that out-prioritize my yearning to revisit far gone eras. Once in a while the stars align and i get replies from people that are feeling the same way, but shit just fizzles out, and life gets in the way. I try to get all “Field Of Dreams-ish” and hope that if I build it someone will come, but more often than not, i end up sitting in a cornfield by myself like a dumbass. Im an optimist, and have faith that at some point the rest of my friends will eventually come around to missing the good times as much as i do. I hope this place comes back in some evolved version of what it once was: a safe haven for a bunch of ego driven narcissists to share war stories. It would be great if there were 10,000 users, but I’d be just as happy trading flix with the old moderator crew.

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I feel you man. We’ve been talking this week so even if not already obvious from this thread, you know where my head is at.

 

That field of dreams analogy is interesting since Ivan remember using that one way back in the day before this forum was actually anything. As I type this on an iPad I only started using to watch Netflix, because I’m in bed and didn’t think I could peck out a half decent response on my iPhone, what you just said and what @seeking said earlier certainly comes to mind. This current forum is mobile optimized, but the experience is less than ideal. Likewise, what @Joker said about sharing to a tighter knit group kind of jives as well. I’d really love to see what some old friends have been up to, as well as follow along. No doubt that’s what Instagram is for exactly, but there’s something about the format that just rubs be wrong. I guess maybe the fact that it’s so huge makes it impersonal. Even following each other and dropping brief comments feels wrong. Like we’re barely acquaintances rather than old friends. I suppose it’s the fact that comments are so brief on that platform, that it’s a challenge to write anything meaningful or actually get your point across without condensing it. Likewise, it’s so broad that doing so just seems weird so I find myself DMing instead. Guess it’s ironic cause as @seeking expressed, people don’t seem to have the time or inclination for desktops but we can also all acknowledge that whereas mobile is convenient and always on you these days, the experience often sucks in comparison. Even if we had the time to be on for 10 hours at a time like we once did regularly, nobody would do so on a phone. Guess it makes sense why social has devolved to double taps and emojis.

 

Anyhow, I’m going to take a page out of your book @dekayfa and am exploring what options exist, how viable I feel they are (or aren’t) and seeing where I can find the time and dough to build out something new that might have the potential to evolve things forward so it’s a little more tempting for the new kids and perhaps a little more compelling for any of the OGs that might be interested in reuniting and staying in touch. Have a solid lead to a new platform I’ve already been testing and also been exploring Reddit on desktop, mobile and as a dedicated app to see what I can learn from what is still basically a forum that beat the odds and grew bigger and stronger despite Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and all the others.

 

Guess we’ll see if things can come full circle and maybe if I build it, they will come?

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Forgot... Was meaning to also link “Halt and Catch Fire” to share back with those reading along. Finished the series last night, which was a bummer in itself but also because of how the story concluded (no spoilers), but so much of that show reminds me of the early days of 12oz. Back in 1998 trying to figure out how to set up a server... Swiping Red Hat cd’s out of books at Barnes and Noble and spending countless ours trying to understand the syntax in the Apache configuration files. Setting up a network so the invoices could be centralized for all the phone and mail orders that @psm026 and me were taking didn’t conflict. Endless trips to radio shack and Computer City (and later CompUSA) to buy cables and old PBX phone system shit. Later buying increasingly faster and bigger Compaq rack servers off eBay to handle all the growth. Amazing times at the bleeding edge of tech back when it was the Wild West. Before all the info was at finger tips. No Google, Amazon literally only sold books, no PayPal and nobody trusted using credit cards online yet. Us all burning the midnight oil, working late nights, drinking beer, sleeping in the office and just grinding away knowing we were on to something big, but too deep and all too new to have a real notion of just how far it might go.

 

Anyhow, definitely check out the show if you lived through that era especially. Also worth a watch even if you didn’t. Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2543312/

 

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And on that tip, here’s a peep of the old 12ozProphet / Straight From The Bottom offices circa 1998.

 

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I’m going to try to add my own ramblings in here that will most likely be overly obvious. I’m approaching this solely from a technology standpoint. I’ve been here for a while. If I had to put a year on it, I’d say that I was first creeping around somewhere between 98-99ish. It was fantastic back then.

 

The Beginning.

You could see some true graffiti vets discussing style and exchanging mission/chase stories. It was a small niche community. At that time, I think there were a lot of lurkers like me. Cards got pulled when people talked bullshit, techniques and spots were still pretty well guarded. Pictures were not as common if posted at all. Maybe it was a constraint of the board at that time, but it was definitely also due to the fact most of us didn’t have a digital camera and or a scanner. I remember going out, taking flicks of freights, developing them, scanning them in. You had to use a thirdparty image host in order to share them. Still a lot of dial up connections back then. Privacy was a big deal during this time. Outside of Raven, most people didn’t put their names out there openly.

 

Broadband + the dawn of digital camera/camera phones

These become more common, Brickslayers really starts to grow, this in turn changes what content is posted/consumed. MySpace is around but at this point writers are still trying to lurk in the dark a bit. Channel Zero blows up. Seeking drops the dime letting kids know how to make Krink.

 

Next tech change we would see is introduction of smart phone.

Good quality flicks/ Facebook and Instagram emerge. People become content creators who publish but do not dialogue with others. No more hiding behind screen names or locations, if anything they are more upfront about it. Paint companies start sponsoring more writers and doing tours showcasing paint. Everything is accessible. The demographics for graffiti blows wide open- no longer just other writers interested. At this point we are literally flooded with flicks. Due to algorithms, you can’t keep up no matter how much your try.

 

Now that that’s out. I would say that my engagement has decreased at each time there was a shift/progress. I went from reading every thread and comment posted to not being able to keep up, to no contact at all. There was a shift in management at one point where things got heated between some of us and I thought that I might be too close to it and needed to step back.

 

We have entered an age that is counter to what most of us grew up in. Immediate gratification. When I grew up skateboarding, there wasn’t a YouTube channel that told you how to kickflip. Best you got was a photo sequence in thrasher magazine. You had to figure it out. Now, the culture is such that My nephew found a skateboard and at the end of 2 weeks, he could Ollie, shuvit, and landed a kickflip. A week later, he moved on to something else.

 

Now what does this mean for graffiti culture. Will history survive? Books? Probably not. Outside of subway around a a couple of others most of this history will get wiped because it wont make it into a digital format. How many graff books would you like to order but they arnt out there.

 

There was a time where I thought that a graffiti wiki would be a great idea. Something that you could use to track down the origins of style and crews. I quickly gave up on this because I don’t think it would be possible to get an accurate account or keep it from getting incorrupted by people within the community.

 

Reddit.

reddit gets so much right. Let’s the community grow as organically as possible. If your a member of /r/skateboarding and want to talk Only talk to dudes over 30 or dads or skate, there are subreddits for that. That way older dudes can avoid the kids who are obsessed with whatever a dragonlazer flip is. It allows groups to form and function on their own. If I want to read something on Reddit, I’m on a computer. I know it will be a deep info dive. But I also use it a ton to just look at images/memes/politics. I’m also able to post to it with a fairly anonymous username that doesn’t connect with what high school I went to. Design wise I remember when I first saw and and thought to myself, who would use this piece of shit. But turns out almost ever one and it could be one of the last places on the internet that has genuine discussion with potentially intelligent people.

 

Is it possible to do something that appeals to people that isn’t instagram, and functions as a real forum, yes. But I also think that they have bridged the gap by not limiting it to just one subject.

 

 

I deleted Facebook 2 years ago. I still have Instagram but think of deleting it all the time. My reasons for this are as follows. While I have access to friends, it feels false most of these people do not talk to me or interact other than liking Picts. I feel as though it cheapens our relationship and rarely is genuine. The ability to influence decisions based on what info they show you is scary to the point I would rather abstain until it is better regulated. All these services are free and no one is asking what it is costing them. I’m too old to think that it is only ad dollars. Most of all, social media is something that consumes more of my time than what it gives back. If I spent as much time drawing or painting graffiti as I do looking at it on my phone, I would be a much much happier person. Having a phone makes us feel like we always have to be checking something. Social media, a game, etc. we wind up spending every little break we would have sat waiting, getting consumed by time vampire activities. You feel like your busy, but what you are really spending time doing is fucking pointless. It takes and gives nothing back.

 

Unlike seeking, ive been writing this all on a phone. It was a difficult to read and even harder to proofread so I haven’t.

I’m certain I’ve rambled and even more so haven’t made sense or completed thoughts but I’m scared to try to clean it up out of fear I would lose what I’ve written.

 

I’ll come back and clean it up once I’m at a real computer.

 

 

One last thing, I think we will hit a counterculture of people who will disconnect from smart phones. I can’t be the only one that feels like this. Think about any music show you’ve gone to, someone spent the whole time videoing it on their phone, proving they were there and completely missed the show. I’ve been working on being more present in life and conversations. Next time your talking with someone, see how often they are distracted by tech and not really engaged with you.

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But isnt the purpose and fate of graffiti,impermanence? Thats the philosophy behind bombing, right? Never in the same plave twice and never the same way?

 

I think the positives of today's technology is the convenient and quick snap of taking photos, uploading it to the internet quickly. Graffiti was never to be long lasting. Social mores dictate everyday actions, and graffiti will never be part of that. Its always stripped, cleaned, and torn down. Technology allowed us to document the art before its wiped away.

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reddit gets so much right. Let’s the community grow as organically as possible. If your a member of /r/skateboarding and want to talk Only talk to dudes over 30 or dads or skate, there are subreddits for that. That way older dudes can avoid the kids who are obsessed with whatever a dragonlazer flip is. It allows groups to form and function on their own.

 

I agree with this 100%. Originally Channel Zero was conceived for this, but then obviously got too big. The threads themselves serve a bit to segment discussions, but it's nice to still be able to group several together. The platform I'm investigating now is definitely not a Reddit clone, but it obviously takes a great queue from Reddit by allowing the forum admin to pass along privileges and allow users to submit requests for sections. These sections can be totally public, read only, private or invisible so that without a direct link and invite, you dont know they exist. The person that submits the request are granted ownership and from there can invite other users, make them mods to their section, approve their membership and moderate their space how they see fit. Something like this would've been epic back in the day when we had Nightowls and also sort of forum only crews starting to pop up. Its obviously been far slower now, so its difficult to imagine segmenting things further, but then again, I believe like @diggity there's a lot of people I talk to in real life that expressed a desire to reconnect with friends from the past or are feeling nostalgic and looking at ways to have highly targeted discussions.

 

If I want to read something on Reddit, I’m on a computer. I know it will be a deep info dive. But I also use it a ton to just look at images/memes/politics. I’m also able to post to it with a fairly anonymous username that doesn’t connect with what high school I went to. Design wise I remember when I first saw and and thought to myself, who would use this piece of shit. But turns out almost ever one and it could be one of the last places on the internet that has genuine discussion with potentially intelligent people.

 

I also agree... Much prefer to take my time and use a computer which is liking going to a theater to see a movie, versus the social media mobile discussion which is like watching a trailer for a movie at home during a commercial break. One takes a little planning and effort, but so much more worth it when it comes to something that genuinely interests you.

 

Is it possible to do something that appeals to people that isn’t instagram, and functions as a real forum, yes. But I also think that they have bridged the gap by not limiting it to just one subject.

 

Yeah as I said further up, I do think there is something key in that statement. Somehow on Instagram I've got a steady stream of stuff, but seems like more and more is stuff I'm not really interested in. @Joker also expressed something similar in regards to road bikes. It makes me think that likely social and what 12oz used to be (long format discussion) are actually two entirely different things. Perhaps social supplanted discussions for a bit, but now many of us are seeing its faults and short coming and realizing its not filling that need at all. I don't see it going away entirely as it is super convenient and there's plenty of studies out there regarding some of the addictive qualities of it. But clearly we all feel its lacking and though busy and all grown up, still seem to yearn to stay in touch and on top of specific subjects and people.

 

I deleted Facebook 2 years ago. I still have Instagram but think of deleting it all the time. My reasons for this are as follows. While I have access to friends, it feels false most of these people do not talk to me or interact other than liking Picts. I feel as though it cheapens our relationship and rarely is genuine.

 

Your last sentence here nails it 110%. I said something similar about it in my own post. Sometimes I almost wish good friends from deep past werent following me on Instagram. Double tapping photos every so often or dropping comments like, "we should catch up" (yet never do) just cheapens the whole thing. Likewise, I think we're also seeing, especially in regards to how loaded and divided everything has become, that you end up following and being followed by people you really have grown apart from. Social replaced discussion and now realization dawns that you're at this virtual party full of conversational snippets about anything and everything, with most of it being nothing that actually interests you as you go about sharing glimpses of your own live and interests that obviously most your followers don't particularly care about. Sort of reminds me of summer when you're young and you spend a bunch of awesome weeks with a cousin. You both go your own ways at the end of the summer and then by the next summer you've grown in two totally different directions. Instead of the awesome time you had the summer before, it sort of becomes this awkward experience of being polite to each other and completely no longer relating. (Not sure thats the best analogy but you guys get my jist).

 

Social media, a game, etc. we wind up spending every little break we would have sat waiting, getting consumed by time vampire activities. You feel like your busy, but what you are really spending time doing is fucking pointless. It takes and gives nothing back.

 

That last line is the clincher: IT TAKES AND GIVES NOTHING BACK. Exactly how I feel, which is only amplified by the fact that to add insult to injury they also don't show shit in chronological order and instead curate my feed by prioritizing what they *think* I want to see, which rarely works out. Frankly a ton of people I follow, I wish I can unfollow. People that like I said, you were super cool with, send over a follow request only to realize you live in two entirely different worlds. For whatever reason you dont have the heart to unfollow, but you know it would have been better to leave the relationship in the past and just hold on to the memories of what it was instead of get reminded by a steady stream of crap that reminds you what it no longer is. Being able to follow hashtags is a poor solution to this issue and as we all seem to be saying, conversation on that platform pales in comparison to the stuff that used to go on back on the forums.

 

Unlike seeking, ive been writing this all on a phone. It was a difficult to read and even harder to proofread so I haven’t.

I’m certain I’ve rambled and even more so haven’t made sense or completed thoughts but I’m scared to try to clean it up out of fear I would lose what I’ve written.

 

Appreciate you typing all that on a phone. Believe this forum system has auto save so you wouldnt have lost it like way back when on the old forum, but I know what you mean. Mobile just sucks for this sort of thing. Even playing with the dedicated Reddit app to research and test ideas, as well as the mobile optimized browser version, its clear that the mobile versions are condensed to mostly up voting and skimming images. Posting text is possible and is incrementally better than this forum since it's almost a full screen and simplified text editor, but yeah... still sucks. Hard to expect people to trade in the convenience of mobile, but clearly those other forums and Reddit prove that long, targeted discussion is still a thing for a ton of people.

 

One last thing, I think we will hit a counterculture of people who will disconnect from smart phones. I can’t be the only one that feels like this. Think about any music show you’ve gone to, someone spent the whole time videoing it on their phone, proving they were there and completely missed the show. I’ve been working on being more present in life and conversations. Next time your talking with someone, see how often they are distracted by tech and not really engaged with you.

 

I agree. Honestly the only reason I havent ditched my iPhone is because I feel I have to maintain it for 12oz and the work I'm doing. Each day I hate it more and more, especially when I find myself reach for it when I have a moment of idle time. The surveillance stuff (lots on that in other threads) genuinely freaks me out. I also hate how it seems like you simply don't own your time anymore. Not to mention that iPhone and really all Apple shit has been on the decline since Steve Jobs died and how the fuck are they going to expect people to pay $1250 plus a phone plus another $250 in insurance?! Then feel stupid a year later when a newer, shiner version comes out? The phone just tries to do too much shit now and doesnt seem to do a lot of it very well. Fucked up that my phone does a better job taking pictures then actually making calls.

 

In any case, appreciate @diggity taking the time to stop by and type all that out (especially on a phone). As I've said, I think its likely I'll switch to this other platform and it has some great features for having targeted discussions. And as @dekayfa said, hopefully if we build it, they will come. Anyhow, giving it my best shot so hopefully between that and some support from those interested and willing to help put in the legwork to help tip this over... We can evolve this back towards something genuinely worthwhile.

 

Thinking I'll start a new thread about the history fo 12ozProphet if people are interested. Again, feeling nostalgic and there's a lot of stories from a lot of people that really should be recorded somewhere. Likewise a lot of us have a bunch of really great photos of a lot of it that deserve to be seen.

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But isnt the purpose and fate of graffiti,impermanence? Thats the philosophy behind bombing, right? Never in the same plave twice and never the same way?

 

I think the positives of today's technology is the convenient and quick snap of taking photos, uploading it to the internet quickly. Graffiti was never to be long lasting. Social mores dictate everyday actions, and graffiti will never be part of that. Its always stripped, cleaned, and torn down. Technology allowed us to document the art before its wiped away.

 

Not sure there's an answer to this. Its personal to every person. I know people that dont document anything. Its 100% the feeling of doing it. Others might do it for fame or competitiveness. Personally me... Graffiti was the vehicle that kept a group of good friends together. For some of those it meant something different but to me... Could have been sports or anything else, just happened to be graff. If you hung out, you painted. After a while, I got bored by it to be honest. I love the rush and adventure of bombing, but never really enjoyed piecing that much. Of all the art I've created, the spraycan is the absolute most clumsy tool to create with, assuming your goal is creating art. I suppose even that, might be what drives some people... Creating art using the absolute most clumsy tool and still having it come off. Suppose dudes like Os Gemeos built successful careers off exactly that, so who am I to say?

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But isnt the purpose and fate of graffiti,impermanence?

I'm not speaking about the buff or getting gone over here, more from the stand point of how a particular style has evolved. for instance before the days of the internet, some crews, for example FC/IBM - you can go back and look at how its writers build on the same foundation in their style and I'm sure it can be traced back in time to its originators. best example i've seen of this has been in that book Flip the Script where it tracked down origins of various handstyles. I'd love to see more of that type of documentation but the way things have grown now, i would say that the ability to document that would come to a close in the early-mid 90s when magazines became more available. obviously i still credit subway art and style wars plenty. Sadly I dont think I'll ever see that type of documentation. not enough money in it and peoples memories would conflict too much. but it would be great to see. Paging @Sonik3000

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@misteraven - I have to say, that this thread has me coming back daily to read it. That in itself is a good sign, right? The conversation has me engaged and I'm genuinely curious how others think and feel about the subject. Mostly because I feel like I can't be the only one who dislikes Instagram or Vevo or whatever, and it turns out I'm not.

 

I still need to dig into Reddit and see what it's all about. I really only use my computer for design/work related stuff. I rarely use the internet unless I'm researching the price on a 14' ladder or the benefits of a dual-sided crank based power meter. This forum stuff has me reminiscing the old days of using my WebTV...

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@Joker yeah man, same here. Its ironic and goes really goes back to what @diggity said about how social networks really cheapen relationships. There's a lot of people I follow on Ig that follow me back and we've largely ignored each other fo so many years minus maybe double tapping whatever latest image was posted... You and I included. But already in the last few days it seems like we've said more stuff than we did in almost a decade of social media which is really crazy. I've also been thinking and come to realize that Facebook or Instagram or whatever else at its absolute peak, wasn't half as fun as 12oz was in its heyday. Man the amount of laughs and fun we had... Really was some pretty incredible times! Lots of great friendships and not sure if I'm romanticizing, but wouldn't doubt if some what we discussed, some of the friendships made, some of the knowledge shared... Wound up changing the course of some peoples' lives.

 

@Europe said something similar in another thread... We literally crossed continents to catch up with each other. Paint together and share laughs as close friends and all of it stems back from what started here on this forum. No doubt that social media supplanted forums, at least for the last decade and a half, but don't think they really successfully replaced what they were. Again, don't think we can necessarily recreate what 12oz once was, but have an even stronger belief today than I did the other day when I started this thread, that we can likely create something new and relevant to this era that's just as significant as what we all started on here nearly 20 years ago.

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Greetings from a summery Athens, everybody!

Really grateful for the invitation @misteraven and great to see you all, especially @Joker, @seeking, @diggity and @Europe still around.

Reintroducing myself and my 12oz history history...I'm now 39, still in Athens, married with a 5 yo daughter. Painter, Publisher with a company of my own doing children's books.

Not smoking anymore, running trail marathons in the greek mountains, had a couple good gigs running up until 2008, kinda lost a full decade on the Greek/Euro crisis, kinda hit in the face realizing i'm in on the wrong side of forty.

Pretty disappointed with world politics (but that's nothing new) still trying to lead a meaningful life, like when i was spending 18 hours a day on this forum, haha.

But really though, this what 12oz has been for me.

 

I started writing in 96, back then in Greece, we had some local made spraypaint with a range of 8 colors (black and white included), no caps and no exposure to graffiti media at all. There where some kids, mostly from france who used sparvar and motip.

Had fatcaps. skinnys and magazines and parisian tube videos. There where some americans kids i used to skate with that their parents served in the base. At some point, as the 'scene' was growing bigger the biggest paint store in Athens smelled the money, managed to import the stuff we craved for and along with the hardware, imported some magazines.

It was then that the infamous 12ozprophet osgemeos issue fell in my hands...and blew my mind as did the vaporz one right after. At the time, i had made my mind about art school and a couple years later i started playing with photoshop, internet came and the rest is history.

Just realised today that i first logged in here May 2001. For me, being in direct contact with the people who made the magazines, with the writers i always admired and with a group of likeminded individuals on the peak of the Internet revolution was just unbelievable.

You have to understand at this point that growing up in greece meant that we had access to stuff with a 2-3 gap. We could hear the last metallica song on MTV (the mediterranean version aired in Greece and Israel) but had to wait a year and a half to get the record, or that SONY walkman, or these Jordans or whatever. So now, for the first time, the internet gave a direct contact with pretty much everything. I was the year we entered the EURO currency zone so buying stuff online started to happen.

 

So there i was, young and enthusiastic dipped into a whole new universe. I learned so many things in these forums, i exchanged so many posters, drawings, cd's, tees with some of you here, i had so much fun exploring being live online but also on the record. It was an unbelievable experience that literally shaped these years (that i lived seven time zones away btw). Many times i try to think what made it so great and i always think that a certain anonymity that came with the profile of graffiti writers really sheltered us from alot of bullshit. The fact that no one was comfortable sharing to much personal info (even people not in danger of being caught like me) made us all very aware that this persona that we where building was all that mattered. If you couldn't be really funny, helpful, well intended and interact with others without actually exposing who you are you added up to nothing. I always thought that this factor brought alot of quality in these forums.

 

Seeing how social media today are so fast, so self centered and i'm also definitely old to appreciate the rythm of a new reality i cant really see how i can relive these moments but i try to keep the good side of things knowing that getting very enthusiastic is harder and harder.

It sure feels good to be back here, hope all of you are doing well and thanks to Raven and team for keeping it real.

 

wonk saggin and all that!

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Absolute 12oz noob here. In fact, I was invited by MrRaven to contribute my 2 cents (or 6Pennies) to some topics both he and I have common interests in. Full disclaimer: I too have nostalgia for the online forums of old, but I spent the late 90s gaining clout in hip-hop, rave, b-boying and DJ forums. Never with 12oz though.

 

I think we can all agree that in general we are in the midst of huge cultural shifts and changes, and as with any change we know there is something gained and something lost. What we choose to focus on (gain or loss) usually is decided by our length of time with the culture (i.e. generational perspective). Something was immediately gained with the initiation of and then current pervasiveness of social media. But, it's fucking exhausting and shallow for the most part at this point in time. We are looking for more meaningful, deeper engagement. Thing is Social Media will probably have to be the door by which like-minded people will have to seek out and find spaces like this forum. Plain and simple there's too much noise and competition that everyone has to sift through in order to get here to these more significant places. Instagram more so than FB is a great recruitment tool and connecting point, but not the place for meaningful engagement. Why quit Social Media altogether and lose the access you have to potential new members, new ideas/knowledge, and starting points/connections? Is the noise really too much to deal with? There's apps for that....

 

Case in point: MrRaven and I know each other solely from Instagram. I believe he reached out first, but after some IG DM conversation (albeit somewhat disjointed because of the platform quirks), we realized we have a similar world views and interests, and now we somewhat consistently riff ideas off each other. Would have never really known this site had other aspects besides The Shop had it not been for this Social Media connection. IG is like browsing the displays at the bookstore before you decide to go to the library to check it out. But, now I just have to work my way past all the Pulp Fiction, Supermarket Romance Novels, and Lifestyle Magazines before I can get to my section of interest.

 

What really gets me though is that Image over Substance is prevailing in Social Media, but that is not a new problem.

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