Social discovery site 20blinks, co-founded by Sandra Hay, never fails to amaze.
It’s an impulse as old as cave paintings – the desire to share images that interest us, things we find beautiful, inspiring, appalling or just plain weird. That’s the idea behind social discovery innovator 20blinks, the Amsterdam-based site that is attracting a hip, edgy crowd. The site allows users to share collections of images, art, books, music, movies or anything else that matters to them. In the process, users establish an online personality that somehow feels more real than a collection of text and links at a traditional social media site."
The self-expression aspect was what first gave Sandra Hay, wife of iconic rock ‘n roller Barry Hay, the idea that eventually evolved into 20blinks. She envisioned an online treasure chest where users could store images that convey the things they find valuable. At first, she thought it would be a great way to create online memorials for deceased loved ones, a treasure trove of collections that would convey the deceased’s personality in a way that mere text and family photos could not match.
Teaming up with friend and neighbor Bastiaan Zwaan in 2010, the 20blinks founders refined the idea to include collections of anything any user (dead or alive) finds valuable and compelling, and the hot new social discovery site was born. Originally, the site enabled users to display up to 20 windows, but as the concept caught on and angel investment funding rolled in, it was expanded to allow users to express themselves in virtually limitless ways – capturing and collecting images that would otherwise be lost in a "blink."
And express themselves they do, with collections featuring cutting-edge fashion, must-see classic movies, music, books and art – a dizzying array of images that are true to the site’s original purpose in that they say something unique about each user. Users can login to 20blinks with their Facebook, Twitter or Windows Live ID, and the site is integrated with established social media players like Facebook to enable users to grab compelling images for their 20blinks collections with a handy Blink-It button. It’s a natural fit since Facebook chats can be enhanced with a way to instantly share collected images and common interests.
So what’s in Barry Hay’s collection? Not surprisingly, the vocalist for Golden Earring has a collection of images featuring singers, including such diverse notables as Frank Sinatra, Ike & Tina Turner and the Kings of Leon. He also collects images of Chihuahuas and sunglasses as well as photos of French movie legend Brigette Bardot and much more.
“It’s amazing,” Hay observes. “All these images are floating around in space, and with 20blinks, you can collect them all in one place. Putting them together gives them a whole new meaning. It’s a great way to expand your horizons. There’s a practically endless variety of topics to share and learn about – from great speeches to ants to films.”
“20blinks also has a lot of potential to drive commerce.” Hay continued. “If you find another user with a collection of great movies, you might discover one you haven’t seen and then go buy it on Amazon.”
20blinks’ potential as a tastemaker has definitely attracted notice. It’s also an excellent tool to share new music. Golden Earring will celebrate the launch of the group’s latest release, Tits & Ass, on May 10, 2012, with a performance on the balcony of the Amsterdam Apple Store and free downloads of select singles at iTunes.
Hay notes that he will be back in paradise – Curaçao – ten days later. As he reviews his upcoming album launch activities, Hay describes a large flock of flamingos flying over the Caribbean beach he will soon temporarily leave. It sounds like a perfect image for 20blinks.