[-empyre-] social media as revolutionary technology?

Andrew Schrock aschrock at usc.edu
Mon May 14 02:23:50 EST 2012

To throw two related ideas out there -- mobile interfaces and media ecologies. I'm wondering aloud here: how to think about "bigness" on a global scale, while taking into account differing cultures, rituals and practices? 

The mobile interface accesses layers of information through what could be argued is a natural extension of the ideas behind ubiquitous computing and design work coming out of Xerox (that you all are more intimate with than I am) that focuses on context. Mobile devices allow access to information connected by location, as a kind of bundling or inscription, to co-create place. Mobile interfaces are also increasingly adopted in non-western contexts -- not too many big screens in most African countries. They do however have a booming trade in cell phones and economics based on cell phone minutes. 

Dale's "the place's discovery of you" is an interesting re-framing... we often we assume that people use location to access layers of information, or use technology to go somewhere. But this seems too simplistic to describe what are essentially embodied interactions. Jon points out that mass media and large public screens co-exist; Johannes talk about the friction between "hi-tech concepts" and "low street life." We're living in very hybrid space & times. Maybe we could think of this as a media environment that people can draw on to construct individual (and only partly portable) media ecologies. And how people interact with technologies when the personal and public is routinely blurred is an increasingly complex question. It also intimately involves space as neighborhoods, census tracks, zones, etc... and mapping technologies. The way google maps operates is very westernized... there's a lot of interest around me about the infrastructuring role of APIs, through a Leigh Star mode of though and also Gidden's notion of structuration. 

Genevieve Bell is wonderfully articulate about this as a technological anthropologist... about how the question of "where am I" is also a question of "where am I going?" People's proprioception is often articulated in ways other than map-like graphics... if you have time to view highly recommend... 


On May 12, 2012, at 8:37 AM, Jon Winet wrote:

> Johannes | all  -
> To be clear, re:
> ==
> "Jon Winet thinks of these "screens as collective and individually
> electronically-mediated experiences".
> Maybe I misunderstood. But I don't think so.  Big Screens have not
> propelled me in my life, ever."
> ==
> I didn't qualify the "Big Screens" as socially positive experiences,
> which I understand to be Johannes' point about propulsion - but as
> arguably, and increasingly undeniable, parts of [urban] consciousness.
> I speculated that BIg Screens will ultimately|in the near future be
> linked to a hand-held screen ux.
> Many New Yorkers for better or worse carry an image of the Big Screen
> -saturated Times Square in their psyches. Tens of millions of people,
> from Durban to Oslo and Dublin to Osaka, opted to watch matches in
> recent  FIFA World Cups, not in the comfort of their homes among their
> "mates," but on temporary screens set up by municipalities in the Town
> Square. Concurrently Twitterverse traffic was filled with fans
> commenting on the game. Twitter in this instance, may in fact
> constitute a low-tech version of the Big Screen | handheld screen
> interaction I was trying to poke at in an earlier post.
> The  brilliant journalist, theorist, fiction writer and forever
> literary hero of mine George Orwell had some prescient thoughts on
> screens in his dystopian vision of 1984. And it appears there will be
> an opportunity to evaluate his vision and ideas up ahead. A quick
> search turned up the following item in the March 21, 2012 edition of
> the _Hollywood Reporter_:  Title: "Orwell's '1984' Getting New Film
> Adaptation at Imagine Entertainment (Exclusive)"  with the startling
> sub-title:  "Shepard Fairey, the street artist perhaps best known for
> creating the Barack Obama 'Hope' poster, was instrumental in bringing
> the project to Imagine and LBI Entertainment and might take a producer
> role."
> http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/orwells-1984-film-adaptation-imagine-303003
> The deconstruction possibilities here may well give me a massive headache.
> On Fri, May 11, 2012 at 1:12 PM, Johannes Birringer
> <Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk> wrote:
>> PS.
>> I think i was not entirely evocative enough in the street dialectics i wanted to bring in,
>> away from the hi-tech concepts floated here on "design" of public interactives, or the
>> metropolitan spectacle of BIG SCREENS.
>> Jon Winet thinks of these "screens as collective and individually electronically-mediated
>> experiences".
>> Maybe I misunderstood. But I don't think so.  Big Screens have not propelled me in my life, ever.
>> Yes,  where is the low  streetlife?   (Dale asked this.
>> <<Our use of mobile devices was very much to enhance the discovery of a place and to some extent the place's discovery of you>>)
>> when and how does it discover you?
>> and all those rural roads?
>> regards
>> Johannes
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> _______________________________________________
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Andrew Schrock
USC Annenberg Doctoral Student
Twitter:	@aschrock
Email: 	aschrock at usc.edu
Phone: 	714.330.6545

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