Hello, world!

I set up this wordpress blog in order to track my interest in the real-time web.

As a medium, the RTW is a recent expression of a more general technology that establishes and maintains a psychological sense of immediacy.

Many popular applications do this in a lightweight manner, and developers and marketers continue to label various kinds of updates and in-app activities as real-time. But creating a sense of immediacy is more than just increasing the pace of the normal software use. In its full expression, real-time apps enable the user to fully suspend disbelief and enter a different world. And to allow the user to walk away from it.

Video games, from the very early implementations on mainframe computers, have sought to enable this sort of experience. And, as first demonstrated in The Mother of all Demos in 1968, the real-time applies to collaborative work as well.

In our work lives, at home, and on the road, we are often not fully engaged with our computers. This especially applies to consumer apps like email, twitter, and facebook. These sorts of apps attempt to pull your life loosely into their network, somewhat engaging you while you are on. They also aim to remain at the edge of your attention, reminding you in different ways while you are offline or “elsewhere”. On or off a particular app, you find yourself doing other things in other screens… “multitasking” (which is somewhat of a misnomer).

The RTW, on the other hand, holds onto your attention for a limited period of time, and aims to do so completely. In a game like minecraft, or in an application like google hangouts, you are either connecting to the medium itself or through the medium to others. Long after walking away from a real-time app, you might even remember your encounter as you would a “real experience”.

It is this particular experience-building quality of real-time art & tech that attracts me to this field.

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