Why we complain about communication overload even as we seek new ways to communicate.
Our workdays are so filled with emails, instant messaging, and RSS feeds that we complain that there's not enough time to get our actual work done. At home, we are besieged by telephone calls on landlines and cell phones, the beeps that signal text messages, and work emails on our BlackBerrys. It's too much, we cry (or type) as we update our Facebook pages, compose a blog post, or check to see what Shaquille O'Neal has to say on Twitter. In Texture, Richard Harper asks why we seek out new ways of communicating even as we complain about communication overload.
Harper describes the mistaken assumptions of developers that "more" is always better and argues that users prefer simpler technologies that allow them to create social bonds. Communication is not just the exchange of information. There is a texture to our communicative practices, manifest in the different means we choose to communicate (quick or slow, permanent or ephemeral).
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 340 g
Dimensions: 203 x 137 x 17 mm
Harper guides us through an engaging narrative, captivating us with vignettes of studies in communication behaviour and concept technologies such as the Whereabouts Clocks that show the locations of your family members... This is a fascinating book: an easy, enjoyable read that is refreshingly backed by an academic rigour that is so often missing from sociology studies on this subject. It's a must read for all those looking to the future of communications.
Throughout, the book throws up the kind of nuanced observations that seem at first surprising and then just right: text-messaging is, at some deep level, a form of 'gift exchange,' and 'social networking' is as much for keeping the world at large out as it is for inviting new people in. Post that on your Facebook.