Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Interactivity Restoration

In the introduction of the book "Design for the Social Web" Joshua Porter has a brilliant opening with a quote by Douglas Adams, talking about getting back to connectedness:

“During [the twentieth] century we have for the first time been dominated by non-interactive forms of entertainment: cinema, radio, recorded music and television. Before they came along all entertainment was interactive: theater, music, sport—the performers and audience were there together, and even a respectfully silent audience exerted a powerful shaping presence on the unfolding of whatever drama they were there for. We didn’t need a special word for interactivity in the same way that we don’t (yet) need a special word for people with only one head.

I expect that history will show “normal” mainstream twentieth century media to be the aberration in all this. ‘Please, miss, you mean they could only just sit there and watch? They couldn’t do anything? Didn’t everybody feel terribly isolated or alienated or ignored?’

“Yes, child, that’s why they all went mad. Before the Restoration.”

“What was the Restoration again, please, miss?”

“The end of the twentieth century, child. When we started to get interactivity back.”

Very interesting and striking thought. Something we see often in evolution, new technology coming into the picture, adding and extending to our possibilities, sometimes first in a crippled way until a new wave of technology catches up with the past, restores in an even enhanced form.

On a side note, the book is very good, a fresh school usability approach looking into and capitalizing from the most recent web 2.0 hits.

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