We Are Electric.CHARLIE TIMS / MARCH 2011 / TRULY YOURS / STOCKHOLM
I often get distracted by the ʻinternet for beginnersʼ classthat happens through the glass window.
A teacher, following a sheet of instructions, prompts theclass through a series of exercises. She explains what asearch en...
The people taking the class sit at their computerterminals, fingers hovering over their keyboards,staring at the prompt-she...
And somehow that doesnʼt seem fair. Mostlytheyʼre just learning a new way of doing whatthey already do.A new way to pick u...
So, when I was watching this a few weeksago, I was thinking - why not just give theman interface thatʼs a bit more familiar.
Have a button for Eggs. One for a TV license.chocolate biscuits. saucy magazines. wikipediabutton.
wikipedia button.a button for Eggs.                                                       One for a TV license.           ...
Then I thought, well maybe that already exists.
Internet looks like a phone.Phone that looks like the internet.
Actually, theyʼre not different.Itʼs just that my ʻinternet phoneʼ is a shit internet phone.
The point being. All this stuff with computers,and mice and browsers - it created an idea thatthere was a different digita...
An evolution in our ability to make telephonecalls to
people
knowledge
things
and people and their things
& people and their knowledge
This means that itʼs increasingly ridiculous tothink about the ʻonlineʼ and the ʻofflineʼ worlds.The web canʼt be divided f...
Singular Electronic Environment
We know this because
Electric Communities
So what is an electric community?          Itʼs a community that needs          electricity to come together.Electric comm...
The Impulse:ʻI didnʼt know there were people like me..ʼ                              is key here.
The consequences ofthis in on the street &   in the city can be  summed up by the following statement.
We can    see more         niche things               less predictably.
We can    see more
4. The economics of infinite shelf space probably applies to electric communities in cities in the same way as they apply t...
We can    see more         Niche Things
Electric communities tend to be more spatiallyefficient. And they can come together around morespecialized tasks. They only...
We can    see more         niche things               less predictably.
when communities can rehearse onlinethey can appear on the stage anywhere.
Here some ʻolderʼ more traditional sources of community from some research I did a fewyears ago, looking for the public li...
A shift in the  balance fromcommunities that  choose you       tocommunities that  you choose.
no shared interests can be presumed.
The Electric Anxieties
If we can see more of ourselves,               then who are we?               Electric people are destabilize the way we  ...
If communities are niche,                             what are we sharing?                     Electric communities enable...
If where something happens          is less predictable,                                      what do we have in common?  ...
Invent Places ofDemocracy
Electric communities concentrate values.
Which is           Great for more freedom.           Great for niche collaboration           and inter-dependency.        ...
But we are left with adeficit of places that can hybridise values
Healthy democracies have    always had these.
We need to start looking for them.Looking for public spaces is a good way to start.
Define Public Spaces as those that canbe ʻaccessed, shared and governed by      different groups of peopleʼ.
DefendSharedPlaces
DesignSharedSpaces
Make SharedDecisions
Shared Places   Designed Sharing   Shared Decisions
Hybridised ValuesCollaborative Design      We Think Rival Social Action   Electric Liberty
We Are Electric.CHARLIE TIMS / MARCH 2011 / TRULY YOURS / STOCKHOLM
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We Are Electric

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This is getting a bit better now. Hopefully a bit cleaI cut out some of the electrical garbage. I gave this at Fabel Kommunikation's brilliant Truly Yours conference in Sweden earlier this week.

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We Are Electric

  1. 1. We Are Electric.CHARLIE TIMS / MARCH 2011 / TRULY YOURS / STOCKHOLM
  2. 2. I often get distracted by the ʻinternet for beginnersʼ classthat happens through the glass window.
  3. 3. A teacher, following a sheet of instructions, prompts theclass through a series of exercises. She explains what asearch engine is, what google is, what wikipedia is,what directgov is...
  4. 4. The people taking the class sit at their computerterminals, fingers hovering over their keyboards,staring at the prompt-sheet, squinting at the screen.Everything is so alien to them.Itʼs hard to imagine quite what it must be like to dothese things for the first time.
  5. 5. And somehow that doesnʼt seem fair. Mostlytheyʼre just learning a new way of doing whatthey already do.A new way to pick up yellow pages, make aphone call and order a book. A new version ofbuying a magazine, looking at an advert in anewspaper, picking up the telephone and callinga shop. A new way to telephone the grocers andask them to make a home delivery.Itʼs the interface thatʼs alienating.Not what they are doing.
  6. 6. So, when I was watching this a few weeksago, I was thinking - why not just give theman interface thatʼs a bit more familiar.
  7. 7. Have a button for Eggs. One for a TV license.chocolate biscuits. saucy magazines. wikipediabutton.
  8. 8. wikipedia button.a button for Eggs. One for a TV license. saucy mag button chocolate biscuits
  9. 9. Then I thought, well maybe that already exists.
  10. 10. Internet looks like a phone.Phone that looks like the internet.
  11. 11. Actually, theyʼre not different.Itʼs just that my ʻinternet phoneʼ is a shit internet phone.
  12. 12. The point being. All this stuff with computers,and mice and browsers - it created an idea thatthere was a different digital world, when actuallywhat has been happening is the gradualelectrification of our relationships. Now we areelectric.
  13. 13. An evolution in our ability to make telephonecalls to
  14. 14. people
  15. 15. knowledge
  16. 16. things
  17. 17. and people and their things
  18. 18. & people and their knowledge
  19. 19. This means that itʼs increasingly ridiculous tothink about the ʻonlineʼ and the ʻofflineʼ worlds.The web canʼt be divided from real-life. Itʼs liketalking about the ʻstreet lit worldʼ and the ʻnon-street lit world.ʼ Everyone seems to accept thatwe are now in a:
  20. 20. Singular Electronic Environment
  21. 21. We know this because
  22. 22. Electric Communities
  23. 23. So what is an electric community? Itʼs a community that needs electricity to come together.Electric communities are not ʻnew communitiesʼ. Theyjust tend to be easier to bring together, because theyare powered by electricity. Here are some;
  24. 24. The Impulse:ʻI didnʼt know there were people like me..ʼ is key here.
  25. 25. The consequences ofthis in on the street & in the city can be summed up by the following statement.
  26. 26. We can see more niche things less predictably.
  27. 27. We can see more
  28. 28. 4. The economics of infinite shelf space probably applies to electric communities in cities in the same way as they apply to electric books on amazon. Think of the city as a shelf. And communities as books. Amazon can fit more books on their shelf. We can fit more electric communities into the city.So you could probably say that theʻeconomics of infinite shelf spaceʼ applyto electric communities in cities in thesame way as they apply to electric bookson amazon. Think of the city as a shelf.And communities as books. Amazon canfit more books on their shelf. We can fitmore electric communities into the city. Itsthe same logic.
  29. 29. We can see more Niche Things
  30. 30. Electric communities tend to be more spatiallyefficient. And they can come together around morespecialized tasks. They only exist for as long as theyhave to - which means there is more space for ʻnicheʼcommunities in the same place.
  31. 31. We can see more niche things less predictably.
  32. 32. when communities can rehearse onlinethey can appear on the stage anywhere.
  33. 33. Here some ʻolderʼ more traditional sources of community from some research I did a fewyears ago, looking for the public life of cities.
  34. 34. A shift in the balance fromcommunities that choose you tocommunities that you choose.
  35. 35. no shared interests can be presumed.
  36. 36. The Electric Anxieties
  37. 37. If we can see more of ourselves, then who are we? Electric people are destabilize the way we recognise ourselves. When more things are visible - how do we know who we are? What is a trend? When is a trend a trend? If itʼs easier to mobilize 10,000 people - how do we know whether 10,000 people are significant or not. How do we know who to listen too?
  38. 38. If communities are niche, what are we sharing? Electric communities enable more ways to share with other people, more deliberately. Some of these are more surgical, some of these are more instrumental, some of these are transactional, some of these are more random. But we call them all sharing. Am I sharing my car with you, or selling it to you when Iʼm not using it? Am I sharing information with you, or broadcasting it at you? Sharing, if thatʼs what it is, doesnʼt seem as intimate as it once was. We share with people we donʼt know. More like doggers, than inuits.
  39. 39. If where something happens is less predictable, what do we have in common? Electric communities make it easier to transcend physical places and local districts. They also make it easier to live within the people and things we already know. Do electric communities drive the fragmentation and Balkanisation of society into different class and interest communities? Do they help us to reach out beyond ourselves, to our neighbours and to our friends. Do they create or do they erode social solidarity?
  40. 40. Invent Places ofDemocracy
  41. 41. Electric communities concentrate values.
  42. 42. Which is Great for more freedom. Great for niche collaboration and inter-dependency. Great for being less predictable, routing around, undermining disposing of illegitimate governments and big bureaucracies and businesses.
  43. 43. But we are left with adeficit of places that can hybridise values
  44. 44. Healthy democracies have always had these.
  45. 45. We need to start looking for them.Looking for public spaces is a good way to start.
  46. 46. Define Public Spaces as those that canbe ʻaccessed, shared and governed by different groups of peopleʼ.
  47. 47. DefendSharedPlaces
  48. 48. DesignSharedSpaces
  49. 49. Make SharedDecisions
  50. 50. Shared Places Designed Sharing Shared Decisions
  51. 51. Hybridised ValuesCollaborative Design We Think Rival Social Action Electric Liberty
  52. 52. We Are Electric.CHARLIE TIMS / MARCH 2011 / TRULY YOURS / STOCKHOLM

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