The modern ‘manuscript’ of status updates

The humble status update has grown up a lot in recent years, by me on Medium:

It’s more and more common to have not just a stream of social updates now but a full landscape. What we have today, is almost like a manuscript — and I think some of the most interesting developments can be lumped into three categories that also demonstrate how the humble status update has evolved into something more.

So let’s look at actions, dialogue and illustration.

August 1st, 2013


The troll rules have changed. Or have they?

There’s a lot of talk about trolling at the moment but just because someone shouts about wanting to kill you, it doesn’t mean their actual goal is a murder. It’s attention — and trying to quiet everyone in the world who’s after attention is going to take more than a new button in a social media tool.

From my article about this on Medium:

The global mainstream community is now being confronted with something more like the old dynamic of trolling. Even though most of it won’t be familiar with the old ways of dealing with these things, I think it’ll inevitably have to return to the time-honoured solution to disruptive human influence.

July 31st, 2013


A different path to Inbox Zero

New Gmail got me thinking:

Alongside archive/ action, now there’s a third, lower maintenance option: scan the subject lines. They say decreasing decision fatigue helps you concentrate on the things that matter — and I think the new Gmail represents a step in that direction. Nagging notifications are dismissed just by viewing tab.

July 23rd, 2013


A perfect journo email app

From my article on Medium:

After years of working with journalists and writing myself, the challenge of composing emails that stand out in the right way has become something of an obsession.

But I wonder, could you design an email client for journalists that did smart things with the messages to make their life easier and the process smoother? And could that help them get to the crux of each message faster — the story it had to offer?

Read the full article here

June 13th, 2013


Who will build Android for Dummies?

From my post on Medium:

I like my new Android phone. It has power, it lets me have more control over the experience than my iPhone ever did and for a lot of people, it delivers in exactly the areas that iOS is increasingly frustrating and/or boring them. But this is not a phone I’d recommend to my Mum. Or most of my friends. Or, in all probability, you.

My Nexus 4 is a great, complete, mobile experience. The word that comes to mind again and again is “unrestrained’. Where iOS cajoles you into certain behaviours and typically ‘we know best’ UX, Android will play on your terms. Want to use Face unlock? Fine. Want to rinse your battery telling Evernote to update 60 times a day in the background? Fine. Want to sideload ROMs, new firmwares etc? Fine. On your head be it!

I’d say I’m a technological grownup. I understand how to tamper with technology and make it do what I want — but I’m old enough to deal with pretty much any consequences if it goes wrong. Most people aren’t like this. Most people don’t want this.

Read the full post here

June 11th, 2013


Holiday Homescreen

From my post on Medium:

Even with a good regime of folders, the front page of my iPhone homescreen is almost like a rundown of responsibilities and considerations.

Mailbox, Fantastical and Reminders. Feedly, Instapaper and Reddit. Vine, Instagram and Facebook. Tweetbot. There’s something about all the potential, all these calls to action streaming into my brain every time I pick the thing up.

So a holiday provided the perfect opportunity to simplify my life.

Read the full article here

May 21st, 2013


Glass Half Empty

From my latest on Medium:

Smartphones rose to power because they took a device you always had with you and crammed it full of extra value. These portable computers used the ‘phone’ concept as a trojan horse at just the right time of mobile data, miniaturisation and social networks. Before long, most people will have smartphones without even thinking about it.

But they also only impact you at the point of consumption. Until you take it out of your pocket, it’s out of sight and out of mind. Like your watch, these inventions are hidden but just a ‘click’ away when required – like menus in web design.

Glass is different. It’s always there, ready to notify you or leap into search. But there’s a price: it sits there benignly on your face all day every day, whether you’re using it or not.

Read the rest here

May 21st, 2013


Vine is best when you’re Being John Malkovic

Two big things I like about Twitter:
1. Source of content – links etc
2. Glimpses of how others see the world

I think my Instagram feed was too weighted to people trying to achieve 1, e.g. Here’s a lovely sunset (satisfying on content alone.)

While theres some of this on Vine, I love how vividly those in my feed achieve function 2. Not since Twitter have I felt like I’m glimpsing these little clips of every day in a different head.

Perhaps it’s because Vines include many more ‘human’ variables. From how someone moves the camera to what they decide to film to whether they give themselves a starring role, these give me more of a feel of a moment (and a person) than a dodgy Instagram filter.

If you haven’t tried it yet, I recommend it. Since I like it so much, it’s almost certainly doomed to fail (see Google Wave) so perhaps best to enjoy it while we can…

April 6th, 2013


The Re-Tale of Retail: HMV, community and the future

With the news of HMV’s demise today, following close on the heels of Jessops, Game and other similar massive retail chains, I’m seeing a couple of interesting things converging.

When I was little, I remember an independent CD shop and videogame shop on my high st. But the prices were so expensive that there was almost no chance I’d buy anything there. I went for a wander because they had interesting music playing or good conversations taking place. Atmosphere, I guess.

But with price as the ultimate decider (perhaps ironically in a time of such economic prosperity), the chains took over and were inevitably superseded on that front by the online stores. Amazon Prime with 1-Click or Steam being just about the ultimate incarnation of the most efficient transaction itself.

So when even the biggest high street stores can’t compete on price, speed or reliability, what’s left?

(more…)

January 15th, 2013