Crossposted from

Quick announcement time: I’ll be speaking at Webdagene 2013 in Oslo, September 9th to 11th.

My talk hasn’t got a formal title yet – it’s quite a way off – but I think – in my head – it’s called something like The New Materiality Of Design.

Webdagene’s focus is on UX, and so I think it’s appropriate (given their theme of “The Generation Shift”) to explore the new materials that designers need to both work with and be familiar – both invisible and highly tangible. To that end, it’s a continuation of what I said at dConstruct – about playing with things as a way of understanding them – coupled to the thoughts I raised in Technology As A Material.

There’s a bucket of raw thoughts in Evernote that, over the summer, will get turned into a talk. But for now: a quick note to announce that I’m speaking there, should you be thinking of attending. The rest of the speaking lineup is great, and it should be a thoughtful few days.

Perhaps see you there!

Some exciting news: I’m going to be talking at NLGD, the Dutch Festival of Games in Utrecht, in two weeks time.

I’m going to be talking about “What games can learn from social software”. There’s lots of interesting stuff going in social software and Web 2.0 as a whole that really isn’t permeating far enough into the games industry – yet – so this talk is designed as an overview of some of the more interesting (and not immediately obvious) aspects of social software, and how they might apply to games. I think it should be both fun and informative, and despite the usual pressures, I’m looking forward to writing it a lot.

The talk itself is spun out of my session at Gamecamp, which turned out to be incredibly successful – lots of great discussion and enthusiastic feedback.

And so I’m going to Utrecht. Looking forward to it, if only because it’s always exciting to attend a conference outside your core interests. I’ve spoken about games before, but never to the games industry, so that’ll be quite exciting: lots of new people to meet, lots of new perspectives to hear.

I’m going to be speaking tonight at LRUG. The talk is called “Ruby on Rails from the other side of the tracks“, and it’s about how client-side developers fit into Rails, and how you (as a back-end developer) can work with them rather than against them. If that sounds interesting (or, more to the point, you want to hear Tiest talk about Domain Specific Languages, which should be great), do come along.


12 April 2006

Exciting news of the day: I’m going to be speaking at the Reboot conference in Denmark this summer.

Looking forward to it lots, though obviously I need to start working on the talk soon. Still, following ETech, I don’t think I’m going to let myself get quite so stressed.

What follows is the rough pitch I outlined in an email (written, as ever, in conference-abstract-ese); final version may vary, obviously, but I think it conveys the gist of what I want to discuss:

“Telling stories – what social software can learn from Homer, Dickens, and Marvel Comics”
or: “Social software as serial narrative”

Social software is playful, and much ludic analysis has been made of it. But what of narrative analysis? After all, we use this software to tell the grand serial narrative of our lives – cataloguing them via Flickr, journalling them (in whatever form) via our blogs. And then consider the wealth of parallel narratives many people have – a delicious account, a Flickr account, multiple blogs, LiveJournals, MySpace accounts, some contradictory, some anonymous, some fictional, some fact. This isn’t a bug, it’s a feature; we should encourage parallel storytelling, encourage the formation of personas, and make the interaction between these different platforms as complete as it needs to be to support this.

We should design our software around these narrative impulses. In ten, twenty, thirty years time, for good or ill, we will want to look back at the stories we told – for they are part of our greater story. So as well as encouraging parallel narrative, we need to consider how best to support the long ongoing narrative that we weave.

So: let’s look at how, over history, serial narrative has been told, distributed, and retrospectively altered, and see what it tells us about the tools we build to tell our stories.