Over the years, we have seen the acclimation of gestures and emotion-based icons as part of the vernacular of mobile communications. For those with some Nokia and Android phones, gestures such as flipping the mobile over to ignore a call or silence an alarm, have become normal – while still denoting a sense of the magic of what these bricks of sensors and antennas can do. For Many who are into their 2nd and 3rd touch-centric devices, pinching, swyping, and rhythmic tapping have led to interacting not just with the content on a linear level, but also has allowed for some psychological attachment to the content on devices. All of these are great, and in fact, becoming more core to the experience of not just mobility, but computing as a whole. An enduring lesson though should be derived from this:
Now, while that was something stated on Twitter, and could at one point be thrown aside as a “sure, that makes sense” kind of comment. When we look at some of the research and observation towards language and learning beyond computing, we can begin to see that there’s a bit more at play with gestures and non-verbal communications which begs the question about not just our interplay with devices, but how these non-verbal behaviors can improve our relation to one another, or even our fatih experiences.
Take for example this observation of gorillas from a recent article at National Geographic:
In 2011, Luef and co-author Katja Liebal recorded video of lowland gorillas in two zoos: Zoo Leipzig in Germany and Howletts Wild Animal Park in the United Kingdom.
The team observed 24 gorillas, which they separated into four age groups: infants, juveniles, subadults, and adults.
The scientists focused on the animals’ behavior during play bouts, which are started and ended via nonvocal communication-an exchange of signals involving the head, limbs, and body posture used to manipulate another gorilla’s behavior.
Analyzing the video footage, the scientists then noted each gorilla’s nonvocal signals.
The team saw that gorillas in the three older groups touched infants more, which may be because the youngsters themselves communicate with their mothers via touch, Luef said.
It could be easy to dismiss this as something just needed for language and cultural studies, but I think that there are lessons here also for the mobile-tuned fatih communities in which we live. For example, when we see someone fondoling their mobile while in a conversation with another, or while in the midst of a group discussion – what kinds of messages are transmitted? Or, when you see a group of people at a concert or group event all throw up their mobiles as if they were flash lights and cigarette lighters – what kinds of experiences are they sharing with one another that might only be remembered again from a photo or video of the moment, versus a telling of it (“it was amazing, you just had to be there”).
Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s a place for text-based communication methods. As is there a place for pictorial (still and moving) and audio based comms. But, I do wonder if we aren’t also looking at some of the other ways in which we communicate, learn, and adapt ourselves to one another and our environments that are much more non-verbal. We’ve talked about in a previous article how even the keyboard can be augmented with a picture-based system that allows it to better target non-literate and multi-linugal contexts. There’s definitely an opportunity here.
I’ve seen with just the adaption of gestures on mobiles that there are ways in which we want to interact with data and one another that just aren’t as able to be captured with text and buttons. There’s room for more, but can the greater faith community break out of its diacletic/rhetoical leanings enough to see fatih practices that are augmented with computing look a bit different?