Is there anybody out there? (Or why do I blog?)

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I like to blog.

But, I wonder: Shouldn’t I be Tweeting, Facebooking, YouTubing more than I do?

Every time I spruce up this site, I ponder the advantages of Tumblr, Pinterest, and whatever else is new. And each time, I overthink it, until I confirm that this blog is best for what I want to do.  I want to write about human-computer interaction and all of its various incarnations, at length.  Although, this week I want to add cartoons to all my blogs, which thanks to Bitstrips is going to be a lot easier than the time I wanted to do it in Flash.

It can take a while for me to clearly organise my thoughts for a blog.  But that’s ok. Ideas take time to form, and you can’t always articulate what you want to say.  And, so I am not surprised that  twitlonger and vine are proving to be very popular.  Sometimes, you need more than 140 characters and a picture (or vine video) can be worth a thousand words.

Often in the middle of a blog as I am typing away, I wonder why I am doing it and who is going to read it.  And then much later on, I see why I wrote something and why someone would want to read it. Or, at the very least I see why I wanted to record that idea.

My most popular post on here which someone, somewhere, reads everyday, is about Facebook, which I wrote it in December 2007.  I believe, but can’t say for sure, since Google is no longer sharing keyword searches, that it gets looked at everyday because it talks about Facebook, has an old Facebook screenshot, and talks about Stalkers (the stalking type – not us).  Or, it could be because Google has changed its algorithms to serve up webpages based on users’ previous search histories.  Will this damage the long tail?  Will it start to look like that of a  Manx cat? Only time will tell if this is a good or bad idea.

Apart from Facebook, I am not usually an early adopter, and as someone who has made a career out of lecturing and consulting to others about human-computer interaction, I used to be embarrassed about that.  And, get mocked because my phone was rubbish!

Back then though, the earlyadopter’s phone might have had the latest video conferencing app on it, but what was the point if the adopter was the only one?  You can’t have a video conference by yourself.

[Actually, you can.  At EPFL in the 1990s the video conferencing technology we played with, was so slow that we could run up from one end of the lab to the other in the time the signal was being transmitted, and see ourselves on screen and talk to ourselves. Like Gollum in The Two Towers.]

Technology is often a status  symbol until it hits a critical mass and becomes pervasive. And some technology never hits that tipping point.  I accidently early adopted my LG 3D camera phone the day it came out  (my old phone didn’t work any more and I was waiting for a call on my sim).   I have rarely used the 3D camera, because the results are ridiculous!  Though, I did enjoy temporary mover and shaker status for five minutes and got to impress a couple of people.

I have not seen many 3D photos outside my phone and yet,  3D movies are very popular. Us Stalkers went to see Frozen last week in 2D because my girls said that it’s a bit of a faff to wear glasses and I felt a bit queasy  the last time I watched a whole 3D movie (Tangled).

But the main thing our trip to the cinema shows me that, we are humans and we don’t change that much.  We want to communicate.  We want to be seen and heard and valued.  We want to be entertained and we want to entertain.  We have the same needs we did when we lived in the Iron Ages, and our top status symbol was a Crannog.

And ultimately that is why I will continue blogging about human-computer interaction. We are living in a really exciting time technologically and yet our motivations are the same.  What shared experiences will we create with all of these apps? These ones.

I am going to start a series of blogs based on my old HCI lecture notes and put them up all online.

Please let me know if you would like the cartoon format.


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