The Social Media Fatigue – Life in the Information Economy

We live in interesting times. Did you know that many people now access their Facebook profile the first thing in the morning and It is difficult to communicate with some people, because they are not social media savvy.

In an interesting info-graphic of a recently published research titled “How Social Media is Ruining Our Minds“, it was observed that, over the course of the last ten years the average attention span has dropped from 12 minutes to a staggeringly short 5 seconds. That’s right! Just 5 seconds! People around the world spend close to 700 billion minutes on Facebook every month, and there handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day on Twitter and 250 million tweets per day (Oct 2011). Those are huge numbers!

In such times, there ought to be better strategies for Social Media engagement for individuals as well as business. Almost as prevalent as blind social media evangelism is the level of fatigue and ennui around it.

Driving social Media or being driven by it ?

Understanding the Why

Information as the building block for Social Media Platforms

In my opinion, one of the key influencers of the Social media phenomenon is around the word Information. In an article first published in 1995, advances in computers and data networks inspire visions of a future “information economy’‘ in which everyone will have access to gigabytes of all kinds of information anywhere and anytime. Ten years from now we may find the economic institutions of the information economy a similarly unremarkable part of our day-to-day life. (The Information Economy: How much will two bits be worth in the digital marketplace? – Hal R. Varian, 1995).

I would like to believe that the Social Media is a direct consequence of this information economy and its main drivers are . . . → Read More: The Social Media Fatigue – Life in the Information Economy

Social Technology Quarterly - Issue 3

Here’s the new issue of the Social Technology Quarterly, published by Kuliza. Features one article by me on ‘The Social Media Fatigue.’

Social technology quarterly Vol 1 issue 3

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Social Technology Quarterly Issue 2

Read the second issue of the Social Technology Quarterly, published by Kuliza Technologies here.


Social Technology Quarterly (Volume 1| Issue 2) View more documents from Kuliza Technologies

The Social Media Construct – a case in remediation

They say that the Social Media Technologies is the in thing right now. Some call is fashionable, while some call it a necessity to keep up with the times, while some see a real value add in it. While many companies adopt it, not all understand it completely. It is now well accepted that the Social Media Technologies (SMT) are an integral part of the marketing budget of any company.  The adoption of SMT should be tied down to a business need and an assist with the business processes. Apart from the usual goals of increase in sales, the one thing that the social media technologies has done is, making the consumer more informed and help them in taking decisions that are influenced by a gamut of reasons. Come to think of it, the advent of SMTs follow a similar pattern.  resulted in the way the audiences are exposed to media. We consume stuff in a different way than we used to in the days prior to the SMTs. To support the claim of Social Media technology being omnipresent in the lives of many now, one has to understand where this comes from.

The notion of followers

Over the course of this article, I wish to do a construct of the notion of the Social Media Technology as a new kind of media. I shall refer to Bolter and Grusin, amongst others to understand why the notion of the Social Media technology is a New Media that plays out on the notion of remediation. I shall be looking into this with the example case study on Social Commerce and how the notion of media and Social media is changing and will continue to change the way we do our commerce.

Marshall McLuhan one of the greatest writers on media . . . → Read More: The Social Media Construct – a case in remediation

The side effects of FBing!

I read a cartoon strip the other day. One mother to the other: My son is with a book always! How cool is that! The other mother: On that’s nice. His grades must be really good then as he is with a book always. First mother: He is on FaceBook.

Have you been bit by the Facebook bug yet ? I must admit that I have been to some extent. However there have been many other issues of concern that I have been having. One of them being the importance of maintaining my privacy.

The way people use Facebook, Orkut and other social networking sites (SNS) have been a matter of interest to me. This difference is also a result of the cultural differences people have across countries. The fact is also that people have taken a conscious decision on their part (or alteast have thought about it), when it comes to decide what information that they want to share .

One of the things that I always face a problem is the amount of information that I would be sharing on these SNS. Facebook now is the first choice of people to share images amongst friends. I have heard many people request me to upload my professional photographs on Facebook.  I have done so only to a limited extent.

Another large chunk of people use Facebook as a way of letting the world know each and every activity that they do. I mean seriously, is there any reason why I should know in such detail what the other person is doing. If I do, then it is a serious case of intruding into the other person’s privacy. However, wait! I did not intrude… It’s you who made that information public. So there is something going on here and . . . → Read More: The side effects of FBing!

On Design Thinking and Beyond

Of late there has been a sudden rise in interest in the propagation of Design Thinking. The impetus  to this has been hugely due to some articles in the Harvard Business Review(last year), and  Businessweek (this year).

If the need of the hour is to think innovation and think beyond the obvious, Design Thinking is definitely an essential tool. A lot of companies like Apple, who are driven by Design, have been doing it for years now. A few more have joined the bandwagon, as mentioned in this another post by BusinessWeek.

Apart from these above, there has been the recent publicly available talk by Tim Brown at the TED conference this year. Brown is evangelizing that Design Thinking needs to go to a much larger scale and also that designers should start to think big.

Everyone seems to be acknowledging it. A few seem to understanding it, and a fewer seem to be to be understanding it. The interesting point about Brown’s talk is that he looks at going beyond the notion of consumerism with which Design has been traditionally associated with.

One of the other great design thinkers, who I admire, and have been a student of myself, Erik Stolterman also talks about the notion of Design Thinking in his blog Transforming Grounds. He also makes the very valid point that Design Thinking is been there since a long time and has found its applications in numerous fields.

I strongly believe that one of the areas where Design can play a huge role is Design for Social Impact. This also happened to be the topic of my Masters thesis at Indiana. The challenges are immense, and the solutions are rarer to find, and that is why Design Thinking becomes important.

The outcome of the application of . . . → Read More: On Design Thinking and Beyond

Ethnography in User Research

One of my favorite methods of User Research is Ethnography. It could also be the result of my love for traveling and photography.

Historically, ethnography has been used as a research tool in Anthropology and also made an appearance in the other fields like Documentary film making, Market Research etc. In HCI, Ethnography is often aimed at doing, but is unable to be carried out effectively, owing to the large amount of planning that one needs to go through, especially when the time is short and there is quick research to be done.

In the context of Designing for Social Impact, Ethnography holds a special place. The following diagram would explain the areas on which one needs to concentrate in the context of the social innovations. Framing the situation from the Design perspective, becomes crucial. And ethnography is a great tool to enable the design researcher to come up with answers to these points as one gets to analyze the situation closely by staying within the context.

Designing for Social Innovations

Any problem space can be said to be a design space. And within that design space lies a design problem. One has to however justify, why the problem at stake is a design problem and not say some other problem. Can governance problem be classified as a design problem? Can the lack of facilities in a rural school be classified as a design problem? Any problem that is identified, will give rise to a Design Opportunity. Once that has been understood, it is an imperative on the part of the designer to apply proper Design Thinking in order to come up with Design Solutions. So, in the case of our examples, would ensuring a better governance system, be a well ‘Designed Solution’ or a ‘Design Solution’ . Finally . . . → Read More: Ethnography in User Research

Kant and Experience Design

Introduction Quite often we have heard people questioning the existence and nature of design. Questions like ‘What is design?’ ‘Does design mean art?’ Is designing an object similar to saying beautification of the object? Some even say, design is common sense; and comes from intuition. If we go a bit deeper into these questions, we get to know answers to many more questions like, what role does Aesthetics play in having a good design? What are the factors to which a design owns is success? Is it pleasure it mere satisfaction? Does good design come from experience of proper understanding of a concept? Do the cognitive faculties of the human mind play a role in deciding the quality of a good design? Should a good design mean ‘globally acceptance’? Does design depend upon the culture and context? Do environments pay some role? How is a priori synthetic judgment possible?

In this essay we will see the relation of beauty, aesthetics, art and design. We will see the factor that makes an object pleasurable, and how it aesthetics is a valuable source for designers. The philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and excerpts from his essays Critique of Pure reason,Critic of Judgment, Claims of Taste have been put in; in order to give a more explainable answer to these above questions.

Concepts and Knowledge According to Kant, concepts came from pure understanding and not from experience alone as had been put forward by David Hume. Kant says that all speculation about the nature of things in themselves, beyond the phenomena of perceptual experience , is devoid of all meaning, and cannot even in principle attain the status of knowledge. Kant speaks of metaphysics- that body of knowledge that is both ‘synthetic’ and ‘a priori’ , rather than that body of knowledge which pertains . . . → Read More: Kant and Experience Design

Approaches to critiquing

I love to critique. Being in a field in which I am always surrounded by the different forms of art that have been created, there is always a scope for criticism.  So photographs that I take are criticized, and so are the designs that I make and I do so the same for any movie I see. Now there is a difference between the art of critiquing and the art of reviewing. While reviews are targeted for the common, general audience who do not have a flair for work, critiques are often targeted at a very specific audience.

When we view an art / design we start with an impression of it. Over a time we start to develop an opinion about it. And these opinions over a period turn into judgments. These judgments are what we call critiques. Thus if we analyze, any judgment is therefore ultimately what is what the judge thinks about it. And these judgments are subjective. Thus criticism is a subjective act. A critic is a judge of a piece of art, who gives his or her subjective judgments based on the opinions formulated after the impression of the artwork.

Now criticism has been prevalent in the society since a long time but it is only recently that I felt that there is a need for a sincere effort for an organization to send out an honest opinion without any bias. Often one confuses criticism with only negative feedback. The art of criticism is supposed to see the piece of art a consummation of efforts. So the good things, as well as the bad things should be highlighted in a critique.  A good practice that I follow and propagate people to follow is to start by saying a positive thing about the cultural expression. This . . . → Read More: Approaches to critiquing

Understanding experiences in photography exhibitions for Interaction Designers

This is a final paper I wrote for the Interaction Culture class at Indiana University.

ABSTRACT As Interaction Designers, two of the most important things that one needs to consider are the experience and also the audience being designed for. The presentation of the cultural expression is dependent on the presentation style and a thorough understanding of the audience. This paper aims at giving a close phenomenological understanding of a highly successful photography exhibition by India’s most renowned photographer, Raghu Rai. In the later part of the paper, from these points and an overall experience point of view, it is aimed to generate points for a framework for its application in Interaction Design.

Author Keywords Phenomenology, experience, exhibition, photography, interpretation, culture

Excerpts from the paper Interaction Design and HCI are constantly seeking for analogies from the established fields like computer science, the cognitive sciences, and other disciplines like sociology, anthropology, critical theory and philosophy. There has also been considerable efforts in trying to get an understanding from film theory and looking at experiences in film.

Photography exhibitions on the other hand are highly subjective. It is therefore more likely that any critical accounts of such exhibitions are phenomenological in nature. There is always the vision of a photographer that is being conveyed. And more often that not there is a mismatch between the intent of the photographer and the intent with which the viewer interprets it. There is also the element of time that comes into the picture when doing an analysis of the exhibition.

Conclusion Feelings and sensibility cannot be rationally expressed in words. It can only be experienced. Any exhibition of this kind, not only expanded the horizons for what can be exhibited in the Indian market today, but also helped in understanding what goes on in . . . → Read More: Understanding experiences in photography exhibitions for Interaction Designers