Section 76!

Metamedium concept experience

Concept Experience: MetaMetaMeta

Consider the following two paragraphs from the “Conclusion” to Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg’s essay “Personal Dynamic Media”:

What would happen in a world in which everyone had a
Dynabook? If such a machine were designed in a way that
any owner could mold and channel its power to his own
needs, then a new kind of medium would have been created:
a metamedium, whose content would be a wide range of
already-existing and not-yet-invented media….

Some mass items, such as cars and television sets, attempt
to anticipate and provide for a variety of applications in a
fairly inflexible way; those who wish to do something
different will have to put in considerable effort. Other items,
such as paper and clay, offer many dimensions of possibility
and high resolution; these can be used in an unanticipated
way by many, though tools need to be made or obtained to
stir some of the medium’s possibilities while constraining
others.

For this concept experience, choose three of your own blog posts that most clearly demonstrate the use of personal, interactive, networked computing as a “metamedium,” as something with “unanticipated” or surprising uses, as something inspired by the medium’s possibilities. For each of these three earlier posts, tell the story of how you went about imagining it, designing it, and writing it. Tell us the “backstory.” How did you “mold and channel [the] power” of the metamedium to your “own needs”? And of course, be sure to link to the posts you’re discussing. Or you may decide to reprint each of the three posts in this one big post and offer commentary below each.

In other words, think of this concept experience as a “making of” kind of assignment, like one of the extras you might find on a DVD or Blu-Ray of a movie or TV show. The result will be a meta-post about how three or your earlier posts used the “metamedium” of computing (and the World Wide Web that links us) with all its “many dimensions of possibility and high resolution,” more like “paper and clay” and less like “cars and television sets.”