March 2008

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2008.

Since so much of our culture is digitized now, we can grab clippings of it and spread it all over our identities the way we used to decorate our notebooks with stickers in grade school. Movies, music, books, periodicals, friends, and everything else. Everything that has a digital referent or avatar in the pervasive digital layer of our lives is game for this appropriation.

I just ran across a short post on honesty in playlists.

The what-I’m-listening-to thing always strikes me as aspirational rather than documentary. It’s really not “what I’m listening to” but rather “what I would be listening to if I were actually as cool as I want you to think I am.”

And my first thought was: but where, in any other part of our lives, are we that “honest”?

Don’t we all tweak our appearances in many ways — both conscious and unconscious — to improve the image we present to the world? Granted, some of us do it more than others. But everybody does it. Even people who say they’re *not* like this actually are … to choose to be style-free is a statement just as strong as being style-conscious, because it’s done in a social context too, either to impress your other style-free, logo-hating friends, or to define yourself over-against the pop-culture mainstream.

Now, of course it would be dishonest to list favorite movies and books and music that you neither consume nor even really like. But my guess is a very small minority do that.

Our decorations have always been aspirational. Always. From idealizing the hunt with wall cave wall drawings to hanging pictures of beautiful still-life scenes of stuff you can’t afford in middle-class homes in the Renaissance, all the way to choosing which books to put on the eye-level shelves in your apartment, or making a cool playlist of music for a party. We never expose *everything* in our lives, we always select subsets that tell others particular things about us.

The digital world isn’t going to be any different.

(See earlier post on Flourishing.)

gygax calls in a paladin

IASummit 2008

Meet me at the IA Summit
Some very nice and well-meaning people have asked me to speak as the closing plenary at the IASummit conference this year, in Miami.

This is, as anyone who has been asked to do such a thing will tell you, a mixed blessing.

But I’m slogging through my insanely huge bucket of random thoughts from the last twelve months to surface the stuff that will, I dearly hope, be of interest and value to the crowd. Or, at the very least, keep their hungover cranial contents entertained long enough to stick around for Five-Minute Madness.

“Linkosophy” is a homely title. But it’s a hell of a lot catchier than “Information Architecture’s Role in the UX Context: What Got It Here, What It’s About, and Where It Might Be Headed.” Or some such claptrap.

Here’s the description and a link:

Closing Plenary: Linkosophy
Monday April 14 2008, 3:00 – 4:00PM

At times, especially in comparison to the industrial and academic disciplines of previous generations, the User Experience family of practices can feel terribly disorganized: so little clarity on roles and responsibilities, so much dithering over semantics and orthodoxy. And in the midst of all this, IA has struggled to explain itself as a practice and a domain of expertise.

But guess what? It turns out all of this is perfectly natural.

To explain why, we’ll use IA as an example to learn about how communities of practice work and why they come to be. Then we’ll dig deeper into describing the “domain” of Information Architecture, and explore the exciting implications for the future of this practice and its role within the bigger picture of User Experience Design.

In addition, I’ve been dragooned (but in a nice way … I just like saying “dragooned”) to participate in a panel about “Presence, identity, and attention in social web architecture” along with Christian Crumlish, Christina Wodtke, and Gene Smith, three people who know a heck of a lot more about this than I do. Normally when people ask me to talk about this topic, I crib stuff from slides those three have already written! Now I have to come up with my own junk. (Leisa Reichelt is another excellent thinker on this “presence” stuff, btw. And since she’s not going to be there, maybe I’ll just crib *her* stuff? heh… just kidding, Leisa. Really.)

Seriously, it should be a fascinating panel — we’ve been discussing it on a mailing list Christian set up, so there should be some sense that we actually prepared for it.