Vivid cyberspace

2 minutes estimated reading time

I have been thinking about a vivid cyberspace. I left my original iPad with my parents so we could have regular talks over Skype. I set up my new iPad (I have gone for a mini this time) and pulled up photos from my old iPad back-up. I used the screen capture function as a way of taking notes (usually infographics or adverts that caught my eye) to form a scrapbook on my iPad.

I was reviewing this images and came across a diagram from Max Whitby that looked media in terms of two sets of attributes: vividness and interactivity. I have redrawn the diagram here:
Interactivity versus Vividness

What becomes immediately apparent is that outside of literature, development of vivid cyberspace experiences has been a bit of a wash-out. In fact, with many of the most vivid experiences that have been created were attempted in the movie industry or amusement parks 50+ years ago.

Secondly, there has been a decline in ambition amongst products that do get to market. During the first spurts of the commercial web ambitions of vividness and interactivity went hand-in-hand. Virtual reality headsets had moved out of the military and laboratory environment to some high-end arcades.

Zeiss made glasses that provided a virtual screen to provide the big-screen TV experience in a smaller space. Mark Pesce’s VRML portented a vivid 3-D web experience that didn’t come to pass. VRML eventually became X3D, but some two decades later, I still don’t have cyberspace as envisaged by William Gibson.

Haptics are moving along at a snails pace and augmented reality moving along a little faster.

Before RSS, there was push technology; the PointCast Network and client software provided a more vivid experience than any RSS reader, some eight years before Twitter. Developments of products like Facebook and twitter have iterated on prior social platforms from internet chat and forums to messaging platforms. But all of these ‘developments’ haven’t moved the needle in terms of providing vivid experiences.

From a marketing perspective both content and interactivity have become more important as brands become social and build ‘content factories’ yet there hasn’t been any efforts to provide vivid brand experiences that would be engaging to the consumer. Pop-up stores and experiential events are fleeting spurts of creating a vivid brand with varying degrees of success. There is a lot more mileage yet in the black spaces of the diagram above. More related content can be found here.