Start noticing everything again

Today we are removing the invite-only door on and opening up for the world to join us. The announcement details are posted on the n0tice blog here. But I’ll use this space to share some of the thinking behind what we’re doing.

There’s a really interesting film from the mid-90’s called Smoke. Harvey Keitel plays a shopkeeper who takes a picture of the street from his shop every day for several years.

Looking at his pictures it seems that nothing changes in some ways, but the little details that do change begin to surface. It turns out that the characters that pass through his shop are loosely connected and that their personal stories actually impact each other profoundly.

It’s a great reminder to look around and to be part of what’s happening right in front of us, something that is increasingly difficult when the network follows us everywhere we go – it’s always with us right in our pockets.

While the temptation to escape reality and spend more time in digital land is increasingly challenging, the network can unify and amplify things in meaningful ways when the digital and physical worlds come together for a purpose.

The catalysts for this symbiotic effect include things like festivals, protests, art, sports, debates, gatherings, etc. All of these things can be planned, promoted and chronicled digitally while the real experiences are shared with real people in real places physically.

The digital and physical experiences reinforce each other and make a stronger experience possible together than either the digital or physical experience operating without the other.

Can you imagine a protest without twitter or youtube today?
Mobile phone cameras capture protest moments - #Jan25 Egypt Revolution
Photo By sierragoddess

With headphones on and eyes locked to a screen we are missing both the beauty and the danger that coexist around us. But perhaps by unifying the things happening around us with the power of the network our lives will be more meaningful, not less.

And maybe as a result we will become more interested in participating in what’s happening around us with more commitment and enthusiasm, too.

It’s this idea and many other inspirations that set the stage for us to build n0tice:

We applied some ideas from a fun little game developed by Tom Taylor and Tom Armitage called noticings – a game about learning to look at the world around you. It was also inspired by aspects of the street art movement – an attempt to wake people up, and an attempt to have conversations in, about and because of public spaces.

Of course, we’ve learned a lot from Twitter, Foursquare and many other successful platforms, too. We’ve witnessed incredible innovation over the last 3 years or so, and n0tice is benefitting from those advances. We are standing on the shoulders of giants.

But we’re also hopeful that n0tice can play an important new role in your world, helping you to become part of your surroundings.

Take a moment every day to notice what’s happening near you. Look closer. Listen carefully. Get to know the stories that you didn’t notice before.

Help others notice what’s happening nearby, too. Post photos. Report what you notice.

If there’s one thing we hope n0tice can do it’s that it may encourage us to be better participants and keen observers in the world.  By using the power of the digital network to amplify what’s important and interesting in the world around us perhaps the concept of a community will be more meaningful to everyone.

2 thoughts on “Start noticing everything again”

  1. Hello

    I am starting to use notice to promote #hiddenbd #bradfordphotoaday, but I think your approach of asking people to add content is the wrong approach.

    Content is already out there via twitter, instagram, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook…what communities need is a way to curate, moderate & aggregate all this info & present it in a digestible way.

    Not sure why this hasn’t been done yet? If it has, please send me a link as Bradford, West Yorkshire is ‘sharing’ we just need to capture it!

    Best of luck,

    Natasha Jackson

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