It’s about three years since I started this blog with a post on the three things I hated that day. It’s not the most active blog, but nor the least: 60 posts over about three years is a bit more than one a month, and that’s probably about as much as I have to say.
So, in keeping with the threes:
1. Webstock ’10 (my third, as it happens), and as usual I cringed at the hype before the conference and then stumbled away afterward awash in its brilliance. Less technical this year, and more in the probably-intentional vein of TED talks, it was the big picture presentations I enjoyed the most; the presentations that remind us that what we’re doing isn’t really new, it’s just a new(ish) way of doing what society has always done.
Stand-out presentation was Adam Greenfield on the good and bad of the digital over- and underlay that’s weaving into reality – by us, and by others, but not always, or perhaps not even often, for us. Big challenge thrown out to reclaim and democratise the data that’s being “hovered into the network” (to quote Mark Pesce) .
Good talks too from Shelley Bernstein, Jeff Atwood and Regine Debatty with a common theme: make interaction meaningful or don’t bother making it.
2. Birds, and someone’s talk/book/podcast recently keeps coming back to me whenever I see a soaring or gliding bird. The idea is to always look beyond the obvious and find the truth underneath. What’s the connection with birds?
Once upon a time people looked at birds and saw them flap their wings and fly. So in an attempt to fly people took the obvious – the flapping wings – and attempted to do that with various contraptions. All failed. It wasn’t until someone stopped and saw how birds were really flying – by soaring and gliding on intricately designed wings sans-flap – that the invention of human flight through aircraft wing design became possible.
Who said it? If you know, please post the answer in the comments.
3. Introverts, a few things I learned today that they (we?):
- tend to think vertically, or rather deeply into one idea or subject instead of more broadly across many
- often don’t fill the spaces between words, so instead of an um and an ah, there’s this big gap between words just waiting to be filled (or interrupted) by an extrovert
- don’t cope well with lots of stimuli and ideas coming in at once, and can often shut down when confronted by such a deluge
- draw energy from solitude, unlike extroverts who tend to recharge through lots of interaction.
Interesting stuff, and (if true – I didn’t get the name of the psychologist – so, again, please post the answer below…) explains a lot about why introverts are seen as anti-social; they’re not but are simply processing things in a different manner, or indeed are baffled and unable to keep up with what’s happening in the now. Some other ideas from the same study suggest they think in the longer term, both past and future, and have poor short-term memory.
So, a joke about programmers from Jeff Atwood: How do you tell an extroverted programmer from an introverted one? The extroverted ones look at your shoes when they’re talking to you!
Good summary of keeping community interaction real over here, c/o @gnat: http://nathan.torkington.com/blog/2010/02/21/community-management-workshop/
And to remind myself of one of my favourite pieces of responsive architecture (similar to some of the ideas Adam Greenfield raised), here's a link to the Institut du Monde Arabe entry on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_World_Institute