Tag Archives: microtrend

The Microtrend Diary: your future real time, your future memo

Example page of my recent project: The Microtrend Diary

I am now at the next phase of developing my Microtrend Diary.

The Microtrend Diary currently exists in paper form and there are a number of exercises embedded within it that perhaps make sense as individual applications. Ideally im looking to develop a very simple website with an embedded form that will generate a new question each week/day. At the moment it is it about generating enough questions that provoke the right emotional reactions that I am looking to develop.

In some ways it is still about provoking and coercing you to subconsciously think about your future next moves rather than just asking you about your opinion in real-time. A blend of Plinky with an underlying sense of the relationship recommendation nation as perfectly illustrated by Facebook or LinkedIn mashed up with a life coach and soothsayer.

So the next step is to generate the right tone and the right amount of questions. I was originally inspired by the current news headlines and tragic stories i used to read in magazines and newspapers and the messages they give to you as the reader.  As we absorb more information via social media sites the more we are away of our inadequacies. How can we be reminded of these in such a way that we act on them and make changes, would we want to and would we know we are making changes? Some questions add anxiety but how does this make you change? Maybe these questions are merely mundane reminders but what if you could create a future memo for yourself? Are these wishes for when you reach a certain age? Is this just another time capsule opportunity that all social media apps provide for our future selves? Will these questions create a self fulfilling prophecy, is it a form of persuasion?

My Myers Briggs Test and The Microtrend Diary

MyersBriggs001

ENFP

A few weeks back I was asked to fill in my own Myers Briggs questionnaire to enable me to find out about what personality type I am likely to be. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator is “a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions”. These preferences were extrapolated from the typological theories originated by Carl Gustav Jung, as published in his 1921 book Psychological Types. He stated that there are four main functions of consciousness, two of them being perceiving functions: Sensation and Intuition and two being judging functions Thinking and Feeling that are then modified by two main attitude types: extraversion and introversion. Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers began generating the questionnaire during World War II, believing that knowledge of personality preferences would help women who were entering the industrial workforce for the first time identify the sort of war-time jobs where they would be “most comfortable and effective”.

The idea that a set of questions with certain weighting that ask me about how I deal with certain situations and turns that into a four-letter personality type has been something that has always bemused and slightly annoyed me. Whether self discovery questions in Cosmo magazine or psychometric questionnaires that get you certain jobs depending on the results have remained a constant aggravating mystery to me. Yet I felt this was a challenge for me to overcome my anger and have personal experience to criticise against. As a result of this questionnaire I am an ENFP: an innovator and inspirer…allegedly!

Quantifying the Unquantifiable

The idea of quantifying the unquantifiable; the fluid thoughts and emotions of our everyday lives has in recent times become more and more popular as algorithms in social media focused applications have enabled us all to  invest and share data and act as conceptual self-knowledge mirrors. Originally used in organizational management, social media has enabled a more personal approach to help evaluate ourselves. Indeed the rise in self-help and self-knowledge have become a huge business and created opportunities for organisations and individuals to offer more and more self-reflective tools that allow them to record, quantify, reflect and evaluate on their everyday lives; their thoughts, feelings, mental and physical health. 

My original fascination came when I stumbled across Jonathan Harris & Sep Kamvar’s “We Feel Fine” project: An algorithm that collects around 20,000 feelings per day as expressed by the blogging community and splices up the feelings according to demographic information about the author of each feeling (age, gender, geographical location, and local weather conditions). It then presents these findings in a series of playful interfaces, each of which paints a different picture of human emotion.  Other applications/products/questionnaires have crunched this kind of qualitative, touchy feely soft data to allow you to see how good you are in bed, a rolling history of your sex life, your daily mundane activities calculated into graphical visualizations, psychological phenomena translated into quantifiable scales or your daily tweeted interests simply autoplotted into a diary format. The artist and designer Lucy Kimbell has also been investigating the evaluation cultures in management, technology and the arts; her performance/service: Free Evaluation Service is one example. And more recently Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly set up the Quantified Self program to enable self-quantifiers to meet and compare and analyse their own methods and processes of evaluation.

The Microtrend Diary: a Personal Futures Thought Experiment

The Microtrend Diary is kept in its own monthly slipcase

This initial interest in quantifying the absurdity of our feelings inspired me to consider how we might use these psychometric approaches to create personal futures services. What if you could create a self-reflective  diary that made use of our everyday thoughts to provoke us in such a way that you are able to change your future actions. As a thought experiment I devised ‘The Microtrend Diary’ during my final year on the MA Design  Interactions course in 2007 and have made a recent 2nd prototype. I am currently looking to develop this further with some initial user testing and then publish a small batch for distribution.

Daily self-fulfilling prophecy questions.

Inspired by the abundance of self-help books, self-discovery personality tests and psychometric questionnaires, the Microtrend Diary is a mirror of your daily actions and emotions that reveal provocative ways to alter your future actions. This personalised diary, is printed to order based on a set of preliminary personality questions. As the owner makes a daily record of their actions, a unique set of provocative aide memoirs are revealed under a perforated flap that suggest changing your behaviour in certain ways for the following day.

A perforated seal is torn open to reveal the daily self-fulfilling prophecy questions.

My Happiness Scale

Other pages in the diary include the hourly ‘happiness’ chart, ‘what will this day be?’ join the dots exercise, ‘crowdsourcing you future’ postcards to send to friends and a weekly ‘hopes & fears for the future’ scatter graph. After each week the diary owner is asked to plot their hopes and fear for the coming week and after each month these thoughts are plotted against a time series analysis graph identifying historical trends and pointers for the future. The self-fulfilling prophecy diary is printed weekly and each week is stored in it’s own dedicated monthly box.

Crowdsourcing Your Future: Two postcards sent to friends to plot their ideas of your own future against a timeline and a future history.

A self-addressed Futures History postcard sent to a friend and with the obligation to be returned a year later.

Futures Timeline Postcard sent to a friend with a blank timeline in order to be filled in and returned to sender.

Brain scanners, Ian Jindal and predicting how we will consume!

hitachi's brain scanner

hitachi's brain scanner from Tech-On

Heard an amazing talk at Sense Towers the other week where Ian Jindal came to speak to us about e-commerce and the future of how we will consume! A brilliant and very frank presentation that he has given to a variety if audiences around the country but this time it was to us Sensers. Check out his presentation.

He spoke of issues that are changing thw way we shop online. Data has been mashed up in such ways that now real magic can be performed as more intelligent methods of using data are being applied to predict or maybe even affect our shopping habits. Using APML: attention profiling markup language , hypodata and epiphonomenology (esp), “digital businesses can now make use of behavioural data and interaction to propose a model to consider, anticipate and exploit the phenomena that arise from new uses of data,  the ‘attention economy’ as it has now been coined.”

He also pointed out an amazing article that was discussed in Nature Neuroscience  about brain scanenrs being able to see your decisions before you act on them, suggesting free will does not exist and how we unconsciously make decisions before our bodies realise and react: AMAZING!!!!   NS link or WIRED link

By scanning the brains of test subjects as they pressed one button or another – though not a computer mouse – researchers pinpointed a signal that divulged the decision about seven seconds before people ever realised their choice. The discovery has implications for mind-reading, and the nature of free will. “Our decisions are predetermined unconsciously a long time before our consciousness kicks in,” says John-Dylan Haynes, a neuroscientist at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Berlin, who led the study. It definitely throws our concept of free will into doubt, he adds.

This schematic shows the brain regions (green) from which the outcome of a participant's decision can be predicted before it is made. Courtesy John-Dylan Haynes.

This schematic shows the brain regions (green) from which the outcome of a participant's decision can be predicted before it is made. Courtesy John-Dylan Haynes and Wired.

More Twittr Mashups

picture-1

twistory

picture-21

twttrstorm

Both these mash ups make use of an individuals twwiter updates.

Twistory maps your daily/monthly twitters across your calendar to act as your own diary for you to look over : autodiary making over time.

TwttrStorm makes uses of wisdom of crowds and mass colaboration where you can ask the twitterers a question and receive an answer. It suggests a way to get mass opinion in an instant whether its to spark debate, get feedback or validate a prediciton. This also suggest the opportunity to make a self fulfilling prohecy. This predicitve feature is similar to the way inklingmarkets works and in some ways a paired down version of  the more indepth MMORPG simulation environment that SuperStruct offers.

Twitter mirrors trends

twist

A nice little website that visualises popularity of a word over 30 days, visualising certain trends using your choice of tag words.

http://twist.flaptor.com