Thursday, September 23, 2010

Communication, Consumption & Creation... the 3 Cs of the interwebs

230910_ my Apple kit (266/365)

Its been just over a month since Olly gave me an iPad. A beautiful shining chunk of 32gb goodness.

Prior to getting it... I was all lust but wasn't entirely sure I needed one. It seemed an extravagance considering I had a MacBook Pro and an iPhone4.

Thing is... I still think it is... but I absolutely love it and wouldn't be without it. Let me explain why:

I see our interaction on the interwebs centre around 3 Cs...
Communication
Consumption, and
Creation
What we do on or using the interwebs falls within these three categories.

We communicate through email, instant messenger, Twitter, Facebook, Voice-Over-IP (Skype) and within the other social media communities that frequent. We also communicate through blogs, through comments and discussion boards. Whilst varying in time and immediacy... its all broadly communication - 1-to-1, 1-to-many or many-to-many.

We consume blogposts (as you are doing right now) as well as news articles and the information contained within wiki posts. We read... short posts or long-form articles. We watch... videos on YouTube or Vimeo, or stream live broadcasts from News Sites. We listen... to music on Pandora or Spotify. In this manner... we use the interwebs to entertain and to educate.

Lastly, we create.

We create offline and upload to spaces and places on the interwebs... sharing photos in Flickr or mixcasts, as I do, on this here blog (hosted in Mediafire). We create films for consumption on YouTube or Vimeo. Some talented souls create music and share their creations on iTunes or on Bandcamp.

We create online too... writing blogposts or reposting pictures in our online scrapbooks in Tumblr or Posterous. We can use tools like Picnic to edit pictures online and we can use "the cloud" to store them with apps such as dropbox or box.net.

We can also collaborate* directly using google docs or indirectly where content is shared over great distances by folks who have never met - consider my podcast (something beautiful) as an example of this - recorded offline then pieced together by JD in Texas.

How does the iPad fit into this?

Well... all three devices - my iPhone, my iPad and my MacBook Pro - all can and do allow me to communicate, consume and create... but they all excel in their own niches. Let me explain.

I use my iPhone mainly for communication and consumption - apart from phonecalls and texts... I use it for Twitter, Facebook, checking my Gmail and surfing key sites like this blog and my Flickr photos. I also listen to music (not streamed) and podcasts. I also play games on it (I love the PopCap games, for example).

That said, I do use it as a camera and have a few apps that allow me to create with it offline before uploading them to Flickr or Blipfoto.

Whereas, with my MacBook Pro, there is a greater emphasis on creation. I use Lightroom and Photoshop to create images that I then upload to Flickr or Picasa for use in spaces like this blog. I use Garageband to create the mixcasts I produce and recently bought a Blue Snowball to help Olly with her singing. I create blogposts too... preferring actually keys on an actual keyboard.

Don't get me wrong... I do use it to communicate, receiving updates on Twitter via Twhril and notifications of new email via an extension in Chrome. I do also use it to consume content... listening to Spotify or reading RSS feeds in Google Reader. But the main focus is creation.

My iPad is an enabler. It has freed up my MacBook Pro for creation and my iPhone for communication... because it does a brilliant job of enabling me to consume content. Yes, it doesn't have flash and that is a limitation... but it doesn't cripple the device... and with YouTube and Vimeo offering videos in the HTML5 format, it isn't that big an issue for me.

It is designed around consumption of content.

Yesterday, I finished reading my first proper eBook (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and I have stocked up with more (I am currently reading William Gibson's Zero History - this time in iBooks rather than the Kindle app).

Reading blogs in profile is fab... you really see the intent of the page.

In addition, I use apps like Flipboard and Pulse to read RSS feeds in a whole new, intuitive and visually stimulating manner. That said, I use Reeder to read other RSS feeds in a more traditional manner (I am a big believer is RSS and believe it is here to stay). I also use Instapaper (an app I have raved about before) "read later" content, usually longer articles that need time to read and digest.

I have also watched videos on it... like the recent Radiohead fan video. It is a brilliant medium for fab content like that.

I can play games on it too... it is fab in this regard.

I can create content on it... I have a handy wee app called "BlogPress" that I have used to post to this blog. Its not my preferred choice of creating but handy none-the-less. I use "Things" to keep my to-do list in order (syncing it with my MacBook Pro and my iPhone) and have used "QuickOffice" and "SimpleNote" to create wordprocessing documents.

So when asked how I find my iPad... I say I love it and wouldn't not have one. Yes, it is a luxury but then so is a MacBook Pro and an iPhone. They are my vices.

I see it fitting nicely into my life... and my bag too - the idea that it saves space is actually true... I bought "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" from Amazon (£2.44) because one morning I couldn't fit the borrowed copy of the book into my bag.

I have probably missed something in this ramble... but I wanted to convey how it has become part of my life.  I believe with the right apps and the right attitude towards it... the iPad is a wonderful device that can add to our lives (regardless of whether we spend our time online or not). What it does well, it does very well.

Tx

* Collaboration is, for some folks, the 4th C but I see it within the Creation category... for now.
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