The difference between analogue and digital Part I: Text

I have been thinking a great deal lately about the transformative effects of digital phenomena (See an earlier post I wrote about music on cell phones).

Digital text differs greatly from analogue text. For example, see my text below.

Analogue Text

I wanted to complete this post entirely in analogue format but I found entirely too labourious. So add that to my list. Analogue text is:

  • Not searchable
  • High fidelity
  • Full of personality
  • Able to be hidden
  • Labour intensive

Designers might wonder what this post has to do with design or with design research. Ask yourself: how do you share your work? How much of your work is a mashup? How much of it is findable? Would you rather it be hidden or out there for the world to Google?

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8 responses to “The difference between analogue and digital Part I: Text

  1. A great little post with a high ring of truth. Another thing that I like to think about wrt the design process is that we so often start the process with analogue scribbles and sketches and then have to switch (often laboriously) into digital when we need to start sharing beyond the immediate workgroup. But one of the advantages of analogue is that it’s so accessible and you can work quickly with it. Our digital paper facsimiles are just not able to keep up with our thoughts… yet. Although writing an article phonetically is labour-intensive – writing to support early diagrams and establishing a common language to support a design project, is often faster than digital.

  2. That’s completely true, Steve. Analogue is indeed more flexible in terms of sharing with those in your immediate vicinity in time and space.

    It’s faster than digital in that context, but much, much slower in others. How delightfully paradoxical!

  3. I wonder if this paradox will change as tools improve. I much rather have a conversation over a whiteboard than via screen sharing (because of various reasons); when that changes, it will probably be because I can carry over the elements of analog into digital. And it won’t matter. I don’t think we’re too far from that at this point.

    • Interesting point, Liv, and probably true. I wonder what will happen to the ineffable wonderment of a great white board session, when we know it will all be emailed and automatically tagged, and posted on the company intranet? Will that wonderment disappear? Will we become unable to sketch, because we know our sketches can be sliced and diced, and turned into something we didnt’ expect or want?

      I shudder to think that my sketches could somehow end up at the client’s doorstep without me being able to explain it.

  4. Interesting. The “throw away” attribute would be lost. Seems absurd to build that feature right? (forcing the capture to be ephemeral). Great point.

    BTW, I was just came across this and remembered this conversation:

    http://www.slideshare.net/threefour/make-tools Slide 31.

  5. Pingback: The Difference Between Analogue And Digital Part II: Time « Design Research

  6. Pingback: Data-driven social interaction: The difference between analogue and digital part III: « Design Research

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