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The Moment as Social Tech Trend. Its Renaissance & Decline

by Joe Murphy Librarian on January 10th, 2013

‘The Moment’ as Tech Trend.

Diffusing interaction points beyond the now and with the now. The transition of 2012 to 2013 is an age of subtle tech transformations, of substantive leveling not explosive change. One such subtle change can be seen in the shifting concept of the moment, the time sensitive point of interaction, the now of engagement. the momentThe Moment is about time aspects of social points, diffusing interaction points beyond time or across facets with time or even with particular points of action. This facet of social media expanded and retracted last year and we can expect it to become even more fluid in 2013 as tools are adapted to provide more widely beneficial points of engaging in singular activities.

From Instagram to Klout to Facebook the ways we are engaging with or across time specific actions are shifting.


Facebook’s Poke app: recently the moment played a role in Facebook’s new Poke app. The app takes the old idea of the “poke” to a wider interaction of sharing including video, a message, photos, and screenshots that last only as long as the sender wants them to. This impermanence of messages reflects the time element of communication: not just in timeliness of delivery, but also in limitations to its lifespan (and privacy).

Klout Moments: The popular social media metrics tool Klout also used the concept of the moment in its Moments feature which traced metrics for the impact of a singular posting.

Instagram: Instagram had been about the now, the moment. A large part of its success that helped it to set the standard of mobile social engagement so valued by Facebook was this stream format that emphasized the role of currency. Instagram’s new Photo Maps feature, a geo-visual display released in August, challenges that primacy of time sensitivity by organizing photos based on the where. This lengthened the accessibility of photos and expanded opportunities for discovering photos by reflecting them in a place-based and person centered narrative. It provides a means for engaging users’ photos beyond the moment and into the point of where they were taken. A key point in this shift is the leveraging of location alongside the time-centered feed. This Instagram example does not show the death of the moment despite its push beyond what led its success, but a willingness to push beyond it despite its strengths.

iBooks3 and ereading: The new infinite scroll feature of Apple’s iBooks ereader app adds a realistic level of moment-based engagement to the traditional spatial page way of engaging content. With infinite scrolling, which is a trend across techs including Instagram and Google+ and much more, we eliminate the turn of the page, the “click for more,” or the next button, and have our decision to engage more be at the pace of our consumption. Our places are marked by our progress and not be artificial delineations such as pages numbers.

Also in content – Cloud synched content streaming: Synching econtent across devices with the cloud in ebooks and movies with a recent update from Apple’s iCloud allow for the moment of content consumption to be spread across devices. This goes beyond synching access to content with the cloud by synching your progress in the media marking where you stopped watching the film or reading. The moment comes to place marking.

Path and its close history with the moment: The Path the storytelling/lifetracking app which features sharing the moment (an activity, place, picture, song) with friends updated its iPad app to extend the moment by date and place. A moments overview of Path from the iPad specific landscape view focuses on posts filtered for the day and not the stream across contacts. This hyper focus on time actually lessens the focus on the chronological stream. It also features a location specific filtered view. So while leveraging the moment this update also provides for a removal of the moment.

Another recent update provides for bringing together and searching your social moments.

QR Codes’ strength and vulnerability is the moment: QR Codes leverage the moment by allowing instantaneous linking as well as ignoring it with storing the image of the code for later usage. Discovering the QR code in the moment, and hopefully being able to stop and scan in the moment.

Auto uploading: the significant trend of auto synching pictures etc impacts the moment because it embraces what is happening now by storing but not necessarily using the pictures at the time of the action.

Ambient location: The concept of place-specific alerts and nudges for location based networks has in many ways come to play in both ambient location tools such as Google’s Field Trip app as well as updates to Foursquare which expands in this area just as it faces possibly declining in the area of active engagement. In the moment users may not only wish to engage a place, they may also enjoy having information relevant to that moment presented to them.

Passbook: We already have the technology of loyalty card apps but Apple’s Passbook brings them together for speed and convenience to facilitate their efficiency in the moment.

Evernote Food etc: Archive the foodie pics etc of the moment similar to the impacts of the auto synching trend.

Yelp check ins: add a now to the review-scape with the new twist of the now discovered via Apple maps.

Three dimensional printing: erases the time lag between desire and production.

Twitter helps reverse the moment that makes it successful with new personal archives.

Past moments and reflecting on change: Timehop and Foursquare’s new Time Machine help us relive past moments as well as put past actions into present contexts.

Evergram: Opposite of Poke and Snapchat; remove the now from messaging and have a message delivered in the future. Communication’s focus on immediacy challenged.

The moment succeeding and the moment declining:

The real trend here is that the time sensitive aspects of engagement across or with tech are being challenged. It has been its growth as well as its challenges that make the moment watch worthy.  A subtle yet powerful area of change impacting everything from how we reach each other to how we archive.

- Joe Murphy librarian

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