Goodnight Sweet Prince: Digital Prophet Shingy Departs AOL

Illustration for article titled Goodnight Sweet Prince: Digital Prophet Shingy Departs AOL
Screenshot: Cloud Edits (YouTube)

Shingy, né David Shingy, has relinquished his role as digital prophet of AOL and Verizon Media, after 12 years with the company.


The anime-maned futurist announced the departure in a LinkedIn note. “I have decided it’s time to explore a new path.” Shingy wrote in the letter.

He told his longtime colleagues, “We remain friends and family and that makes me gleam,” and ended the letter, “with mad respect.”

Shingy joined AOL as a marketing director in 2007. In 2010 he was promoted to vice president of marketing and media, and a year later he transcended beyond the professional matrix to the role of digital prophet—a position that he created himself and embodied until now.

It’s possible no one really knows what Shingy did as a digital prophet. In 2014 he told the New Yorker that his six-figure salary paid for him to watch “the future take shape across the vast online landscape,” adding that, “I fly all around the world and go to conferences” and “I listen to where media is headed and figure out how our brands can win in that environment.”

But one anecdote from that story painted a clearer picture of Shingy’s role.

Next, Shingy stopped by the office of Erika Nardini, the chief marketing officer of AOL Advertising, and handed her an iPad Mini. “Wanted to show you a little brain fart I had on the plane,” he said. It was a cartoon he had drawn of a bear wearing zebra-print pants and a shirt covered in ones and zeros.

“Love it, love it, love it,” Nardini said. “I’m thinking of the bears more as a metaphor.”

“A thousand per cent,” Shingy said.

This week, Shingy’s prophesying for AOL and its parent company Verizon has come to an end. In an Instagram post about his departure, Shingy quoted Emily Dickinson: “I dwell in possibility.”


The soothsayer shared some hints about those possibilities in his farewell letter, in which he wrote he plans to work “autonomously with brands to help them achieve optimal presence in the marketplace.”

Shingy will soon grace other companies with his follicle antenna that gather transmissions from our collective consciousness. AOL may be as good as dead but its Digital Prophet still dwells in possibility.


Former senior reporter at Gizmodo



It is surprising that Aol is failing when they make solid strategic business decisions like letting this muppet promote himself to Digital Prophet.