robertogreco + android + serendipity   2

How Wikipedia Could Improve Your Internet Surfing - NYTimes.com
"For years, critics have feared that the Internet will kill interestingness, offering us only what we’re looking for with none of the happy accidents that can spur creative thought. Might a solution to this problem come from the kind of browsing we do on Wikipedia?

In a Fast Company review of Wikipedia’s new iOS app, Chris Gayomali sets the scene:

“One minute you’re on Wikipedia, reading up on the ‘Simpsons’ episode that Michael Jackson secretly guest-starred on; three hours whiz by, and suddenly your whole night is lost and you’re staring at an alphabetized list of French Impressionist painters, to say nothing of the 23 other tabs you haven’t even clicked on.

“Wikipedia’s strange ability to warp time and space to send you down a rabbit hole has been a central part of its long-term success.”

The app, he posits, might enhance that ability even further. “Totally rewritten,” his review’s subheading reads, “the speedier new Wikipedia app makes it easy to get lost — in a good way.” One of the changes is a new sidebar that allows users to jump easily to different sections of a single article. Vibha Bamba, an interaction designer at Wikipedia, tells Mr. Gayomali: “We understand that readers love reading on Wikipedia, but they don’t often get past the first section. They read two sentences, and then they hit a link.” She adds: “We want you to jump around the article to find different entry points. We wanted to support curiosity in a design sort of way.”

Whether the new app actually results in longer Wikipedia rabbit holes remains to be seen. And Wikipedia is hardly the first site to want users to spend more time with its content. Still, Mr. Gayomali’s emphasis on Wikipedia’s ability to promote lostness is interesting, since getting lost — and happening upon things we didn’t think we’d find — is an experience critics fear the Internet has stolen from us.

Damon Darlin made a relatively early version of this argument in The New York Times in 2009 — “the digital age,” he wrote, “is stamping out serendipity.” He argued that the structure of services like Facebook, Twitter and iTunes made it hard for us to come upon something unexpected:

“Everything we need to know comes filtered and vetted. We are discovering what everyone else is learning, and usually from people we have selected because they share our tastes. It won’t deliver that magic moment of discovery that we imagine occurred when Elvis Presley first heard the blues, or when Michael Jackson followed Fred Astaire’s white spats across the dance floor.”

Astra Taylor, in her recent book “The People’s Platform,” critiques what she sees as the “winner-take-all” nature of online media, in which a few sites or stories get the lion’s share of the attention: “When we click on the top search results or watch the FrontPage videos on YouTube or read established blogs, we are jumping on invisible bandwagons.” She explains:

“Most-read lists and top search results create a feedback loop perpetuating the success of the already successful. When an article becomes ‘most e-mailed,’ it garners more attention and thus its reign is extended. The more a viral meme spreads, the more likely you are to catch it. As a consequence, the same silly gags land in all our in-boxes, a small number of Web sites get read by everyone, and a handful of super-celebrities overshadow the millions who languish in obscurity.”"
wikipedia  2014  mobile  applications  android  ios  astrataylor  internet  web  serendipity  sameness  online  chrisgayomali 
august 2014 by robertogreco
FutureEverything Blog | Serendipity City Challenge
"...creating a mesmerising, outrageous app, or mapping spaces of serendipity in your city, & the way these give rise to creativity, energy & diversity.
serendipity  android  ubicomp  urbancomputing  urbanism  ux  iphone  community  cities  opensystems  mobile  challenge  applications  classideas  openstudioproject  ios 
april 2010 by robertogreco

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