The writer Marshall McLuhan, in comparing “city man” with “tribal man,” suggested that while nomadic tribes were nomadic physically, they were sedentary mentally. And that modern city dwellers, while physically sedentary (settled), are mentally nomadic and dynamic. The point is interesting, and while we can’t deduce from it a causal or necessary relation between physical nomadism/mental sedentarity and physical settlement/mental nomadism, the contrast is worth entertaining. McLuhan wants to draw a comparison between movement in the cultural and intellectual sense and movement in the physical and societal sense. Without having to examine the accuracy of his anthropology, it would seem that McLuhan’s comparison rests on a bad analogy. It rests only on a metaphorical comparison, in which two different kinds of movement are compared only through their use of the same term. For nomads were in fact sedentary when in motion. The nomadic tribe travels together, in a pack, preserving its integrity and identity with every passing step. It is a society on the move. While nomads may have moved great distances through spaces, they moved within them with relative stillness.
Our movements through and within a space show us that space does not precede movement, but follows from it. We enjoy freedom of movement within spaces. It is movement through spaces that is constrained. In and within a space, we are free to move as we wish. It’s where we show up or don’t show up that matters to us, not how we get ourselves there. Hence the durability of American car culture: it is the vehicle by which we express and exercise our freedom to move within. Our limiting lines, or borders, are drawn around our spaces such that they constrain our movement through them. Fixed homes and places of work hold us captive; county lines, state lines, and national borders fix us to the many levels of territory we occupy, though we occupy only one place at any given time. What concerns us is the line of escape that travels through a space; hence our obsession with chase scenes, road movies, manhunts and state lines.
- Principles of Social Interaction Design?
- Designing Social for the Enterprise
- Social design of the collaborative economy
- Mirror, surface, window – three modes of the social screen
- Gravity7 to Enterprise…UX and social in the workaday world
- The conundrum of corporate social media use
- Enterprise systems of engagement — social designers needed
- Apple, the rise and fall of “aura,” and the social brand image
- Big UX, small UX
- Instagram profiles: the social image
- The system that breaks is not the system that repairs
- Beyond the Social Object
- The medium and its messengers: story-telling and social media
- Marketers may talk value, but user experience should not
- Zen, and the art of game mechanics
I am currently UX lead and manager at DeloitteDigital, San Francisco.
I make your social media work better for people. Social Interaction Design (SxD) is user-centric approach to social media design, implementation, and strategy that accounts for how different kinds of users engage with social media, and how sites and application design and execution lead to emergent social practices. It applies to user experience design (UX), interaction design (IxD), user interface design (UI), and information architecture (IA). It draws on insights from psychology, sociology, anthropology, communication theory, and media theory. I am available for consulting to design agencies, social media agencies, startups, and social media campaign managers.
Founder, SxdSalon>, a group blog