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Glancing: I'm OK, You're OK
Matt Webb, Schulze & Webb

Track: Social Software
Date: Wednesday, February 11
Time: 2:45pm - 3:30pm
Location: California Ballroom B

Social software is full of explicit declarations and actions -- locations specified, emails sent, connections made. Software is designed so that to make a mark, a person must do something unambiguous and deliberate.

Even ambient devices follow ordered rules. The "Dangling String" uses a vibrating rope to show network traffic; the "Ambient Orb" turns red when market prices are down -- both have a clear meaning.

The real world isn't like this. Is there room online for ambiguous software, for uncertainty of the cause in cause and effect? As allowed in social software, groups are collections of individuals, users entering into them and giving the group life. Groups should be more than the sum of their parts. But does the ease given to direct individual-to-individual communication end up proving fatal to the small group itself?


This talk sets a course from the grunts of non-verbal communication to the basic metaphors of how we build and relate to cyberspace. On the way, we'll take in how groups bond, the supersenses we'll need, telepresence, empty communication, and how the real world and this virtual one are re-engaging.

...And all through the lens of a piece of experimental software that lets you keep in contact with your peers without using words, and ease the ping-pong of messaging into something slower, simpler, and more casual. It's called Glancing, and it's trying to find the tiniest possible way to say ":)".

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