social networks on-the-go

There are a couple of new video prototypes available that show various devices and applications. All of them are looking for friends that you share with people around you.

Larissa has three new videos about concepts of social mobile devices, three more can be found directly here!

Waiting for the bus is quite a boring task, especially in winter. Some entertainment is usually highly apreciated, even more when there seems to be a personal link with common friends. The person next to me will no longer be a stranger but a friend of a friend.

social button at the bus stop mov: 3.7 mb

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extroverted biedermeier

radio gathering, found on wmmna

Some time ago Berlin’s UDK had the luck to award Sasha Pohflepp with his diploma degree in Visual Communication for his brilliant work called Blinks&Buttons. Although I knew his work for some time my research on social interaction for a mobile world gave me reason to read it in more detail. It triggerd some thoughts on public, community, and private use of media.

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Immersion

HalfLife Screenshoot found on games.tiscali.cz

Immersion (lat.: imergere = to dip): feeled presence in another world

A “world” might be defined by

  • a set of objects and individuals
  • an inhabitable environment
  • its complete understandability (for external spectators)
  • space of possibilities (to take action etc)

building blocks of immersion

  • being caught (backgrounds from cognitive science)
  • a computergame defines the setting and the “destiny of the voyage”
  • by interacting we accept the (game)rules

There is no effort necessary, only conscious analysis is capable of distinguishing between real and virtual. Familiar images and hardware that is intuitively operable help to stay “inside the world”.

Finding ourselves in a state of “amphibic” awareness, we flicker between sensing reality (keyboard, environment) and the game world.

“Possible Worlds” is a term established by Analytical Philosophy (David Lewis): We define our world as a part of the real, absolute world by our perspective. Our view and the real world are linked indexically.
Immersion/Imagination shifts the center of our (real-world) perspective into a fictional world (recentering). The new world is constituted by its rules only which cannot be questioned in consequence.

This is very briefly the content of a presentation I gave (long version in German follows) while I was attending a class at FU Berlin, Seminar for Film Studies on Computergames and Media Theory hosted by Judith Keilbach. It is based on the text

Marie-Laure RYAN, Narrative as Virtual Reality. Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media. Baltimore/London 2004: Johns Hopkins University Press

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Mobile Phones on Stage

I just returned from a great play with the title MOBIL at the Hans-Otto-Theater Potsdam about our mobile life and mobile devices. Almost all dialogues had been replaced by talks on the phone or even messages left on mailboxes. That revealed a society permanently on the move, compensating that lack of physical proximity by an excess in mobile communication. A vivid and intense performance of the actors gave these topics a touching expression.

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Track yourself!

While I was looking for something interesting on social history I stopped by at Ross Mayfield’s blog (who I got to know when I was researching for my proto::blog). On his site I found a feature called “plazes”.

With the webbased service of plazes you can (among others) pin your current position down to a specific point like a restaurant and have it logged online. As it is not machine driven but your location has to be typed e.g. in by SMS it can be very precise (there are options for automation, though). Very nice: The service comes along with a German based cell number for Europe and an intro taking place in Berlin!
Moreover, you can have looked up your your friends or special institutions (wifi?) by the system. A drawback: You need a compass to make the response-sms work, which is s.th. like

“Felix at bonfini, 250m NW of you”

Well, where is the sun, the polestar? – ah – here must be NW, then…

A word on some consequences: While Ross Mayfield has reasons to publish his coordinates publicly anyone else could be a little bit more aware of his available data – but won’t, probably: With the current hype on social software, myspace and the like we can this way not only exhibit our most private feelings and favors but publish one more personal info.
On the other hand this is method for tracking was existing for long with our mobile phones telling their whereabouts at least to the phone companies but it was not until now that we could obtain access to this (our!) data ourselves…

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