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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mini TOC Vancouver: Corey Pressman

Today is the first O’Reilly Mini Tools of Change Conference in Canada. Here’s the schedule.

First up was Corey Pressman of Exprima Media, which produces cool interactive experiences on mobile. Mostly apps at this stage. His presentation was titled “The Journey to Contentopia.” and it was an overview of where we’ve come in terms of the first hand-held tools of cavemen to the hand-held tools of today.

Corey Pressman @exprima gets us going #tocvan Content is differentiated from container.

A Couple of Take-Aways

  • Make “app-y” experiences.
  • Content producers can be everyone, i.e., Exprima worked with coffee producers who had training videos, eco info, and instructional info on how to sip and taste. The app is available and iPads were distributed to the coffee co-ops in the growing countries who use the content to help training, inform or educate their farmers and other vendors.
  • If you get the app-y experience, users start thinking, “how can I produce content for that?”

Corey Pressman studied anthropology so he had a number of metaphors and parallels to share.

Humans have neurological needs that require containers for our thoughts. We moved from hand-held cave tools and using those tools to tell stories in cave paintings. We had the scribe era where we hand-crafted manuscripts. And then the printing press arrived and brought about this punctuation in the equilibrium of the crafting of printed works. The printing press brought about an abundance of printed material that was only possible through manufacturing—not hand-crafting.

When things go off the rails, it’s because we have abundance. In times of abundance, business opportunities abound. We get the birth of publishing.

To Publish (v) To make public.

This means we need businesses that help distribute printed works to the public.

We have another punctuation in the equilibrium of book production, and that is digital transfer. Digitization creates abundance. Abundance means that our neurological need in the container of an iPad app or ebook, is no longer a book. As Tylor Sherman talked about in his TOC workshop on HTML5 yesterday, content must be differentiated from the container.

As Corey Pressman mentions, in The Order of Books by Roger Chartier, authors don’t write books (meaning that “book” is a mechanical process), authors write content (meaning there is a separation between content and container).

If we understand that we’ve been through this process before, then it changes our perspective of how we design and develop containers for our neurological needs.

  • The book can’t bind the reality of it all.
  • The ipad can’t bind the reality of it all either.
  • These are containers.

HTML is what go us to where we are today in publishing. Circa 1990, content got untethered from container with the birth of the internet as we know it today. This was a pivotal moment. In anthropology, we have this with the introduction and overlap of species. And those “hopeful monsters”, the new species, survive or die away, but the ones remaining are the ones who are adaptive. They become the species of the future.

With the printing press, the 1st books were made to look like illuminated manuscripts. As we say in geek, we lacked interaction protocols for the new platform. Over time we developed metadata for those “new” manuscripts. We added page numbers, spaces between the words, footnotes, set pictures and added front and backmatter.

In anthropology, this transition period is also a beginning, it’s an incanabula period (incanabula means cradle, early days). We are still in the early days of epub and apps. We are mimicking the old creations.

  • Page curl on ipad
  • iBooks sets thumbnail images of book covers on a wooden looking shelf
  • Digital backgrounds are made to look like paper

Now it’s time to grow up.

We have to intentionally design: don’t just make it look like something else.

User-centered interaction design will save the world (of content) anyway. We need to think about what people are doing with these devices, not what they did with the old containers.

Curated content: comprehensiveness vs. essence, noise vs. sound

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