Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

A Dearth of Storytellers

Thought: Comedy clubs - some people I know go to them. Storytelling clubs - do not exist. Why? Is it just too strange to say that one's going to go see a storyteller? Are stories more of a "only from people you know" type of thing? Some comedians do come halfway to telling stories -- Bill Cosby an example -- but this is rare.

Thoughts are rare though - much of my time is spent trying to figure out the best way to avoid disaster for my research group that will be caused by my position disappearing -- endless meetings and charting out of maybes -- I always feel odd negotiating maybes because it makes people invest effort and use social ties towards ends that, at least for some of them, won't come to be. A lot of this probably comes from the fact that for me, social energy is an extremely scarce resource, and also that letting people down is a deep-rooted phobia.

I have been tossing around on the back burner ideas about object identification - the way that when we drive cars we lose all sense of our body and instead identify as the car, likewise with videogames. Are there prerequisites towards this object-body identification? If so, they're likely in the control interface and tthe info-gathering interface. Are there potential disqualifiers? For me, becoming exhausted eventually breaks that identification. Others? Does this identification increase automaticity of tasks and decrease task competition? Are there ways to intentionally manipulate our ability to do this in interface design?

I picked up a copy of an ACM publication, "Personal and Ubiquitous Computing" - while some of the articles are very badly written (poor grammar, horrible style), the ideas are interesting. One of the articles talked about ways to maintain closeness between people by using various technologies to link their (distant) homes into one "space", another about studies on computer interfaces to manage modern social networks among young teens. These particular teens seem to be the hypernetworked youth who grew up with cellphones - I sometimes wonder how they relate to me, given that I was of the vanguard of the digital lifestyle in youth. I think the cell phone changed the nature of the game significantly though - while I was chatting with people in Germany on computers when I was young (from the Cleveland Freenet/NPTN to the University of Erlangen-Nurembourg's Freenet, and then onto IRC) and similar, there was always a sharp divide between having a presence (that is, being at a computer) and not. The upcoming generation, at least as I usually see it described, grew up with cellphones, many of them now after the convergence of texting and IM, and as a result these forms of communication are more "emotionally real" to them. I'm probably one of the few people who still occasionally writes letters (when suitably inspired) but still has all the ties to the electronic tools of today and yesterday.

Continued increase in coldness yields increased frequency of migraines and general discomfort...


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