Gabrielle Shannon

Why did you first get online?

Some time in early 1994. Didn’t do much for me in the early days, but Kyle (my husband) seemed excited about it.

When did you first get involved with digital and why?

In the early summer of 1994, Kyle and I took a 2 week vacation to the mountains of Pennsylvania and he brought all of his computer equipment. We had been kicking around an idea to do an art & culture magazine since there was NOTHING online other than research papers and library catalogs. We didn’t know a lot technically, but I focused on the content and he did the design and coding to get the first version of Urban Desires ( up in a basic form. As I remember, we put together a basic format and table of contents and started from there.
Over the next couple of weeks, I gathered art and content from a stable of some very talented friends who were writers artists and designers in NY and Kyle put it into our template and by the early fall of 1994, Urban Desires launched to the world. We knew we had something unique ( with 50,000hits per day by the second day ) but had no idea what the Internet really provided, which is a potential global audience to anything you offer up. This was brought home to us one month later when the Parisian newspaper Liberatiôn had a full page feature on the site we just launched. It was wild to see such an immediate response from the other side of the world.
How would you describe your work and professional interests in the 1990’s (or 80’s etc).

I was all about being the Editor-in-Chief of Urban Desires. I loved it. I spent my time conceiving pieces, finding interesting artists and writers and working with my husband’s company (AGENCY.COM) which did the design and development work. It was all about the creative and I really found my voice during that period from 1994-2000. While the Internet was an amazing channel (and remains so) I believed then as I do now that it’s less about the technology than what you choose to do with it. It was a very intense time and as Urban Desires started winding down, I got pregnant with twins (born in July 1999) and had a new project I had to focus on. 😉
What do you think the future will hold for internet/digital?
Hard to say, but it’s looking a lot like we talked about in those early days… that the Internet—as something distinct from other media—would fade in its novelty and become part of the overall communications landscape. It looks like mobile devices and tablets are shifting things a bit, but the trend of everything and everyone being interconnected is expanding.  I don’t think it will be long before we can barely remember what it was like before the Internet. In a lot of ways, I think the future is already here.

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