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Last night, I had the pleasure of connecting with Trent Sense for a moment of IRL (in real life) tech talk. I had a great time connecting with him and have a better appreciation for the energy and insight that he brings to mobile (you should check out his video reviews). As we talked, one of the items that kept coming up in the conversation is how we both have had moments where we no longer follow mobile so much like fans. Our perspective of mobile is "does it get out of the way and let me live." In some respects, I think that such a discussion that anyone has about something that they are passionate about is healthy and if handled well, can lead to more fulfilled or content moments.

I’ll speak more from the side of mobile and the conversation of last night. We both had gotten to the point where it was no longer about "who has the best specs on their device." It really was a matter of "how does this thing do its job such that it gets out of the way and lets me live?" Trent mentioned how after he did the video review of the Nexus One and the cameras stopped rolling, how he looked at his mobile and Google was auto-magically populating his Android device with contacts and calendar information – and all he did was put in his Google user name and password at the initial prompt when it booted. The process of getting his information on (any) Android device was that simple. He spent less time dealing with Phone Switch (though I like that product from Nokia), syncing applications on PCs, and simply got to the business of connecting with those people that mattered most to him. Simplicity because it just worked.

I talked about Nokia Bots and how that application (and later Nokia Situations) put my device in a position where it was always ready for me to use it for what I needed, no matter the time of day or the application that I was in need of (thanks Rita). Those two applications made it such that my device was able to simply sit on the side until I needed it. And when I did, there was no swiping between home screens, application lists, folders, or even navigating settings. Things just worked best for me and the mobile could go back into my pocket without much fuss. Simplicity because it adapted first.

I think those kinds of experiences are what should drive any kinds of items that provoke passionate outburst in us. Mobile technology specifically has this interesting hold on some folks that if it doesn’t play up being more shiny, having more crap-ware, or being priced ever so slightly different than the last innovation, that it can’t be relevant to someone in real life. In a way, its this dogma of fans that seem to drive mobile rather than mobile being a in-real-life participant towards changing how we respect and manage our environment.

When Trent picked up that Samsung Galaxy II and said that he can’t see himself needing something else because that mobile simply fits into his life, he expressed that his sense of being a fan of mobile moved past appreciating the shiny towards becoming something clearer and more defined – like artwork in progress. If the real life application of our passions can bring us to that point, then maybe there’s a better picture to be had for all of this. But, if our passions are only valid or worth something if we only pay fan-like devotion to it, then we’ve probably lost grounding on something real to appreciate something sandy and fickle.

2 thoughts on “IRL Versus Fandom

  1. Sounds alot like my old adage that ‘technology should enrich and enable your real life’. :) I love it. It’s so true – folks like us that used to switch constantly between devices eventually realized how boring that truly is – you’re just repeating the same setup tasks over and over again, hoping that they change. Instead, it’s much more rewarding to explore new ways to use that one device (or technology) to solve new problems.

    It’s also great that you were able to meet IRL. Every time I have the pleasure of meeting someone IRL that I previoiusly only knew online, it’s been an awesome time of nerd chatter, even if we have differing opinions on things.

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