Time to get out more

So, I’ve been thinking about something else that Laptops and Looms threw up for me.

At one point someone – I think it was Alice Taylor – remarked that we’re really good at talking about post-digital stuff to one another, but that it’s time to talk to other people. And while many people at the event seemed to think about that in the context of reaching out to manufacturers and discussing new ways of grokking production, my gut is that we should talk more to people totally uninvolved with the whole thing.

Here’s one good reason to do that. It was fascinating, hearing what a bunch of people might do if given the opportunity to turn old mills and factories built a hundred and fifty years ago into things that operate in the space between digital interfaces and traditional manufacture. But I’m already on-side with that argument. It’s time to convince people who’ll have to live with those products and live alongside the places that produce them.

Here’s another. Russell jokingly mentioned the ‘Google apprenticeship’ as a means of answering some of the questions floating around the room to do with aspiration, but my gut feeling is that you get people engaged with working in companies like Google when you demystify the whole process. ‘Making the internet happen’ shouldn’t be magic that someone else does anymore, it should be something we show off.

“The near future; you can invent it too.”

2 thoughts on “Time to get out more

  1. Your last paragraph is particularly resonant for me at the moment. I did an internship at a publishers this month, and another, less computer-literate intern began a week or so after me. She was flabbergasted when she was shown the content management system for adapting the company’s website. After updating the tiniest piece of text she exclaimed “I’ve changed the internet!”

    After I got over the sheer brilliance of that line, I was (silently) stunned at how foreign the basics of modifying websites seemed to her, particularly since it didn’t even require the use of simple HTML. I think it’s so easy to take something like a working knowledge of core technology systems for granted, and as you suggest, risk alienating potential audiences/contributors.

    (And that slash is pertinent given that it’s separating an increasingly unstable binary!)

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