Some days have a theme, and today was location-based social software, for me at least
I met some interesting folk from Queen Mary University of London who are organising a conference on Performance and Human Rights next year and want to explore a combination of location-based and open access social software to extend the experience to the wider field of people involved in human rights activities
Later, I met with a group of students from LCC looking to do location-based media project – they have a cool professor and some useful thoughts about using social software in a local community near to us, possibly linking up with some of the communities Brixton On-line has worked with under the INTO project. Bus-stops beware
Then Rik recommended the insightful Social Machines essay by Wade Roush, who quotes Alex Pang, of the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, as follows
“The brilliance of social-software applications like Flickr, Delicious, and Technorati,” Pang says, “is that they recognize that computers are really good at doing certain things, like working with gigantic quantities of data, and really bad at, for example, understanding the different meanings of certain words, like ‘depression.’ They devote computing resources in ways that basically enhance communication, collaboration, and thinking rather than trying to substitute for them.”
I wonder what that means for location-based stuff. I have seen the geek experiments and they are really great, but what about ordinary/normal folk
I know of several physical meatspace experience projects that could do amazing things with these ideas if they were just boiled down to the optimum simplicity, with a low a cognitive overhead as possible. I am interested in ideas about how to enhance the experience of conferences, exhibitions and heritage facilities in a meaningful way using social software. The time has probably come for things like Spot-Me and the toys at geek conferences to reach a wider group, but beyond conference extending techniques, I wonder where the sweet spots are in terms of annotating spaces, connecting with people inside and outside, stimulating conversations and aggregating and re-mixing information.