edit: Read this first: Happinomics: What is the value of real-world social interactions?
Most people choose to set up their little ‘cocoon’ while waiting for the bus or train. After only one day of trying to capture people in their private moment I stumbled upon something quite interesting. When explaining to them what I was researching and what exact (non) action I was trying to capture they agreed with me. It is a known fact that people use their headphones in order to shut off the rest of the world.
“But sometimes people NEED some private time in all these seemingly chaotic ambiances. When waiting there, on this narrow and long platform for the bus to come, I don’t always have the need to talk to someone. Especially not in the mornings. It’s just so easy for me to turn up my mp3-player and immerse myself in my music and my thoughts”.
This girl actually made my day. It’s not that I want to break this habit, no be my guest: whatever pleases the individual. Who am I to say: “No, don’t isolate yourself! TALK TO SOMEONE! My networked radio is just a medium that CAN be used in order to create some form of social contact exactly by using the media they use to shape the cocoon. The girl intensified my righteous thoughts about this project. If I were to place my networked radio on a strategic place, inside this public space and hereby creating some sort of invasive space, I am only creating opportunities. It is there, use it or not.
Is this relevant? I mean, why would someone create this opportunity for people? Why shouldn’t we create an opportunity? I mean I walked across the station for more then 4hrs. I saw a huge amount of people listening to music through their headphones. When talking to some of them I realised they are aware of their behaviour and they choose to do so. When explaining to them the concept they agreed: this is some sort of social isolation. They were quite keen on talking about the subject and could relate to my solution: share the thing which clearly is so special for you. Music!
Fact is I got some beautiful shots from beautiful people. They opened up to me and talked to me. I actually got to know a couple of them better, all I had to do was ask. They were very willing into letting me inside their cocoon.
For the first prototype I decided to use my Asus EEE PC to host my local server. I’m running Windows XP SP2 and the battery lasts for about 3,4 hours on end.
WAMP served to be a good & fast method to provide a stable platform on this small and lightweigth laptop. As far as the WiFi-signal is concerned I obtained an old TOPCOM WR 611 router which allowed me to send out a reasonable WiFi-signal and connect to my RADIO-platform using my HTC DESIRE smartphone.
Right now I’m working on the RADIO-platform. I’ve succeeded in creating a HTML5 mp3-player which loads its songs from a DIRectory on the Asus EEE PC. These mp3-files are loaded into a playlist and can be shuffled.