Times have changed. The ways in which we connect and communicate with each other have perhaps changed most of all.
When I started work back in the late 70’s the only way to communicate and inform someone was to use the phone, send a telegram or shout out, i.e. talk directly with someone – you know, face to face. Face to face communication was and still is great. It’s personal, it’s immediate and it enables a connection at you can’t get by any other method. You get to see and understand the true context of the situation – it’s direct and usually allows things to be resolved quickly.
The phone well what can I say – it’s been around for a while and I think it’s here to stay. Well yes, it has changed, but the fundamental process and operation of the telephone has remained the same. Yes the behind the scenes operation of the phone has changed. Our phones are now portable. I remember seeing one of the very first portable phones back in the late 80’s. It was used by one of the sales guys at a company that I worked for. It was the size of two house bricks and weighed about the same. You carried it over the shoulder using a leather strap. Coverage was limited back then to the Sydney metropolitan area. Now look at the phones we use today – a bit like the star trek communicator. So much power, it enables us to do so much and some to the point of controlling our lives. It’s now hard to image life without a mobile phone.
As the years passed facsimiles (fax) came (early 80’s) and went (early to mid 90’s). What?! you don’t know what a fax is? Well, a fax was a great modern wonder of the world which allowed documents to be sent over the telephone line to someone else anywhere in the world. All you needed was a fax machine that was plugged into a telephone line, a document and someone else’s fax number. Dial the number, scan the document and then wait for the audible multi-tone – ‘de de de daa da doo doo de da do’ – confirmation that the document had been sent. Wonderful stuff in the day however upon reflection by today’s standards very cumbersome. You know what I find interesting is that to this day there are some companies that still use the fax machine. I always have a bit of a quiet laugh when I see a fax number or a document requesting a fax number. Come on folks let’s move on.
For me the next breakthrough came in the form of email around the mid 90’s. Now email, everyone knows about email. We receive lots of emails a day. We get legitimate email and of course we get lots of junk email. Fortunately the guys that write the code and user interface for the email system had the foresight to anticipate junk emails and kindly provide a rubbish bin entitled ‘junk email’ – thanks guys. On the whole though the world couldn’t run today without email. Its immediate, it can be ignored, it enables us to trace previous conversations and send documents just like the fax machine but much more efficiency and that audible multi-tone has been turned into a ‘sswwooosh’ which is much more agreeable (thanks UX designers) although a little clichéd. Email allows us to communicate with any number of people anywhere in the world, for business, while on holidays or just catching up with old friends. It draws the world closer.
The other thing that happened in the mid 90’s was the commercialisation of the internet. Wow did this knock everyone for six! Little did we realise the potential of this great tool. When you compare the internet of the 90’s to the internet of today it kind of makes you wonder where this will lead us in the future. As a designer I do have some particular thoughts on this topic which might form the basis for a later blog.
The internet has allowed ordinary folks to have a say. To reach out and make change in their community or beyond. It’s allowed immediate interaction on a worldwide basis. It has helped the globalisation of the world.
The internet has allowed us to expand and reach out to an even greater number of people in the world. People that we don’t know and may never even meet, people whose voice we may never hear but yet we come to know them so well. The internet has become an enabler. Of course what I’m talking about is the creation of social networking, being more social in a digital kind of way. The introduction of Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and all of the other (I suspect) hundreds of social networking sites available to us have brought us all together in ways that we could not have imagined just fifteen years ago. I for one have not really embraced this social networking concept as much as some. As I mentioned earlier face to face does it for me. Yes I do use email, LinkedIn, the internet and I do have a Facebook page (last opened in 2009 I think).
So why have I talked about how communication and connecting with people has changed? Well, that’s because we want to connect with you, our readers. We want to create awareness of and communicate the transformative power of design. We want to have an honest, deep and engaging conversation with you about design and its role in our world.
We want to inform and learn.
And we want you to be involved – we welcome comments and a deep engaging dialogue, we want to create friends of Scintilla and hear about and share your ideas, thoughts and insights. We want to become a collective, a voice in the community and the world.
Why should we do this? Well as designers we are open to change (or to be effective we should be) and we need to envision and drive the future to make our world a better place. So what we are doing is driving the future for Scintilla. We know that it is important to spread the word – we are passionate about design and the work we do, the people we come in contact with and the influences and the outcomes that we produce. In our line of work it is necessary to reach out and right some of the injustices that have happened in our world or organisations and it is through this blog that we at Scintilla will be able to share our thoughts, insights and our deep passions.
We hope that each of you who read our blog will come to realise how not only how necessary design is, but also how powerful it can be. Design has the power to unite, to connect, to inspire, to create, to deliver and ultimately to make things better.
So let’s unite. Welcome to our blog.