27 September 2007

Picnic07: Swisscom anthropologist on why everything is moving into the background

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Stefana Broadbent
Swisscom anthropologist Stefana Broadbent [see also these previous posts] spoke today at the Picnic07 conference in Amsterdam and Bruno Giussani was there to report on it:

“Anthropologist Stefana Broadbent talks about trends in entertainment and communication. With her team of sociologists and psychologists she observes people closely and collects a whole set of data (diaries, bookmarks, playlists, they ask people to keep logbooks of communication and media usage, etc). She is a great speaker and a much-needed tech myth buster.”

According to Giussani, she showed a set of apparently disconnected data that all point in the same direction: there is no substitution – everything is added. “There is more and more media piling on, more devices, more channels. What’s happening is that everything is moving into the background, everything is becoming wallpaper. [… There is] a constant flow of “open channel interaction”.

“Now, there is a problem: the whole industry is trying to say bye-bye to routine. The whole ICT industry today has to do with putting people in total control and deliberate choice of everything that they will listen to, look at, etc: VOD, HDD recorders, IPTV archives, podcasts, videocasts, personalized radio stations, layout skins, etc.

But users can only multitask if we don’t ask for all their attention. Choosing kills routines and requires attention — the moment you choose you commit to something — it moves the activity to the foreground; being in control means being actively focused.”

Read full story
Read review on Pasta & Vinegar (by Nicolas Nova)
All Picnic07 videos

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