29 May 2009

human tickers

The seniors had their Last Chance Dance last night, and they were instructed to indicate their interest in connecting with someone else via 'stoplight' : green for interested, yellow for maybe interested, and red for not interested. I may be simplifying this a bit, but that system seems to discourage wearing green. (Whereas if they were told to wear green if they were single as opposed to, say, desperate to hook up with someone, then many more people would.)

Anyway, what this made me think of was how easy life would be if we had human tickers (a step up from mere stoplights) that notified people if we were having a bad day and wanted to be left alone or had just found out we'd just won a Nobel Prize. Or "It's my birthday," so people wouldn't have that awkward "(expletive, expletive), sorry I missed it" moment.

I think it would be most useful (though slightly distracting) to have on cars. Then, you could thank the person who let you in without waving like an idiot for ten seconds, hoping they'd see you. Or ask, "Could you please let me in? I need to take the next exit." And the driver in the next lane couldn't say, "Oh, sorry, I just didn't see you..."

Of course, the obvious problem is that if we had these flashing tickers on cars,
a. we would be reading them rather than watching the road, and
b. they would eventually be filled with advertising.

Advertising is everywhere. The sides of stairs and escalators, so you can see the ad as you approach. Supermarket conveyer belts. Cars. People shaving ads into their heads. People paying a lot of money to advertise some brand on their t-shirt or jeans.

I guess we don't need any more flashing lights or five-second updates (ahem, twitter).

Which brings me to a question for the technophiles: do you think Twitter will be around and popular in ten years?

Some tutors and I were debating this the other night, and though I'm not a fan of Twitter, I said it (or some newer, flashier version of Twitter) would be. Another very intelligent tutor said it was a passing trend. What do you think?


  1. My most frequent tickers would be: "please do not disturb b/c I'm not awake yet" and "what's for lunch?" =D

    I think Twitter might be on its way to becoming more of a micropublishing tool for broadcasting information and on-the-go blogging. Here's an interesting perspective on Twitter @Mashable:

    "Although this may sound strange at first, Twitter really is more like Wikipedia than, say, Facebook" http://mashable.com/2009/06/02/twitter-users-dont-tweet/

    My fave is visible tweets: http://visibletweets.com/ I think you might enjoy it too.

  2. I like your tickers. :-)

    And thanks for the new perspective on Twitter. I'm still not a fan, but if that's the way it's going (information dissemination rather than "Now, I'm making a sandwich/Now, I'm eating it/Now, I'm washing my plate," that seems more palatable to me.

    And it means it will be around in ten years, and I win the bet. :-)