The design methods introduced are by no means hard and fixed. Some are impractical from a financial view for any single generation. They are simply one authors suggested guidelines to begin answering a hypothetical question:
What I can do to create effective content, be it media or written text?
- Golden Rule
- A Common Language, yup I think I jumped the shark here too
For the sake of this post I consider the fairly broad concept of "effective" to translate into a more generic hypothetical question (without branching off into an argument of epistemological versus artistic creation):
"How can I best contribute to improving the overall knowledge and understanding of humanity?"
Having a goal is not the same as having a strategy. The Achilles Heel for any brilliant project, being trapped by a plan. Without a plan we have no measure of whether or not we are making progress towards our goals. The plan should be openly designed to evolve as needed. The plan need not be laid out in detail before hand, but over time it should naturally come together. It becomes a template you can share with others for funding or advice. Our visions of making progress to the goal of valued web content, require at least some long term planning. Ideally we should go beyond planning quantum web creations, and coordinate long term strategic collections of media.
A constant concern of any web content creator, "Is what I'm doing relevant?" Will anyone ever be impacted by your creation? It can be most discouraging to witness a potential magnum opus become irrelevant a short time later due to changes in technology or a wide spread dominance of a competitor.
Certain aspects of knowledge and understanding are unaffected by the sands of time. We must always endeavor to identify and call attention to these qualities when recognized. These are key principles that should guide us in the identification of primal tenants of knowledge.
Most of us must choose a single focus at a given time, although a select few are brilliant in multiple disciplines. As individuals we can't chase every trend and hope to become an expert. We can't possibly log onto every website, blog or domain related to even our single favorite topic and make any meaningful contribution. There's little reason to join every social network when we hardly have time to engage in one or two. We're forced to make decisions, and lay claim to our own virtual backyard. This can be accomplished by carving out information canals from the digital river of web media back to one place (feed readers/aggregators), and having a few broadcasting channels (a blog). We may then leverage that information to increase our individual knowledge and ultimately our collective vision for the future. We do this not only by reading, but by interacting with authors, experts and hobbyists. The information flow between content authors and readers refines our overall understanding.
As time progresses the measure of human created unique information is ever expanding, and although much of it may be pertinent to our collective success (and satisfaction) an even greater portion is peripheral noise. Filters enable us to make sense out of the flood, to reject the clutter. But alone they aren't enough, considering the foundation of the media. More often than not, we only find great value after digesting a work of art, novel, or film. We ponder it for a time. Discuss it in person, over web streams or emails, and even sleep on it for a few days to allow our subconscious to process our observations and thoughts.
When creating any content, we must consider our potential observers. Are we writing simply for ourselves, or is there another group that may benefit from our work? I'm not suggesting one should be a slave to their audience (or customers). But we can craft more valued and enjoyable media when we consider other users.
Don't be too hasty to share incomplete works or thoughts. In many cases we have very little control of our time (our most valued asset) schedules, but it almost always best to leave time for editing, testing, and touching up a rough draft.
A wonderful way to help refine your content is to open up discussion to test observers, or co-creators. Let them enjoy some of the unpolished ideas and continually add to the product increasing it's value. If you sense a great untapped utility for an existing technology, by all means rework it's concepts into something you perceive as more valuable.
A Common Language
There are advantages a common framework (language) would have over our current segmented communication system. The cost would be several generations of persuasion, and acceptance. One of the goals of such a language would be to enable us to more rapidly create and digest information. A more realistic goal may be a portable translation device although any benefits to improved cognitive ability would be lost. The template itself must be open to revision as our collective understanding of design matures. Our current human languages developed over generations from isolated groups and communities. Programming languages were created by separate groups to function as translators from high level syntax into machine instructions (with different design objectives). An example of the unification of the products of varied languages can be witnessed in the brilliant network we know as the internet.
For the first time in human history our collective work can be shared by all mankind. Powerful efforts have been successfully enacted to translate content into a viewer friendly language. But they are far from complete. The Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) was created as a universal translator between sub-networks via layered protocols, yet still lacked important design criteria. The missing design principles are related optimal abstract information flow and aggregation over generations. In order to more rapidly understand thoughts, perspectives, feelings, programs, and bits of information swarming throughout the global information network, we need a universal language. Not just one language we can speak and write, but one that is also optimal for transmitting over the internet. One that is near optimal for information content exchange, as well as continual refinement of overall knowledge.
Both our language, and our information must also be adaptable over time.
- Our language so it can evolve to maintain the qualities it was designed for
- and our information so that it maintains relevancy for enough time to justify the effort in it's development