Response to What Comes After Reading on the iPad

I read an article some days ago asking what comes after reading on the iPad? I know that I’ve talked about it a few times here before, but I did end up sending the author my thoughts on what computing experiences could look like. Here’s a part of that email response:

…As with some people, my reasons for purchasing the iPad had to do simply with making it easier to consume content. I have about 300 websites in Google Reader, 2 Twitter accounts, and numerous rabbit trails that are my daily reads. For a long time, I was content on doing this simply on my mobiles. I needed something larger when I moved to working for myself (Mobile Ministry Magazine) and the iPad met my needs better than the Kindle for the type of web-based consumption that I was after.

What I found though is that I wasn’t just consuming content – I was cutting, copying, editing, sharing, and basically remixing content constantly. The iPad was more like a pallet of different types of content, and the browser and applications served as brushes to create those mixes. I found it at one part easy to spend hours reading, but also end up with snippets of notes here and there, eventually collected into Evernote or Google Docs, then pushed to Twitter or one of my blogs. In a sense, the iPad was also a canvas. In March of this year, I wrote a post to this observation – the iPad is a canvas because of what it puts in front of you, and what it allows you to do if you are willing to move from consuming to creating/remixing.

The ideal computing evolution after we’ve interacted with content in a context like the iPad is that we start becoming like the hip-hop DJs who are now regarded as fathers of that movement – we create and remix content in order to create something new. But, then also have new tools or processes enabled that allow for other new types of creations to happen. I think of the cut-browse-annotate examples in the MS Courier concept, or the context shifting from a primary display to a tablet to a mobile as in the TAT Future of Screens video as what kinds of experiences we should see more of. In respect to pure creation, I think art created on a tablet should be normal (for example, my artwork). Or even more that document workspaces aren’t limited to which browser one has – just whether they can get to a URL and the content (like with Inkling or the Mag+ Concept).

After reading, we should be empowered to create something new. At the very least, we should be able to touch and be impacted by our world differently than we are with the mediated experiences of mice, touch pads, and keyboards. Because as any teacher will tell you, just because you read doesn’t mean you know it, its how you take what you’ve read to change positively the world around that shows that you’ve actually internalized what you’ve consumed.

As you can see, I’ve not really moved from my thinking that the iPad, mainly because of its polish in the little things such as ease of use, administration, and hardware performance, makes it easy to just get into doing what you do best. For me, that’s taking spatial approaches to information management and communications and connecting them in ways that makes sense to me that keep me productive. I’d even argue that computing has become a much healthier tool/process for me because of this.

What I think that article was asking, and that many people who have come back around to tablets and/or mobiles are realizing is that computing has a level of administration, but that level of administration should never overrun your ability to improve the world around you with whatever it is you do best. When computing gets to that state, then its empowering, enriching, and something more than just a diversion tactic or a black hole for ego and finances. It can then become a means for you to literally paint the world in the kinds of colors that makes life better for everyone.

At least, that’s what I hope that these tools would provoke people to do after they’ve read of the successes, challenges, and failures of others.