Just picked up a cryptic Tweet from @whiteafrican, “Apps are a media business, a fashion business,” and this struck a chord.
Maps are media, and applications for interactive mapping are new media. The ability to locate and place information in context is achieved largely through applications that mashup content with mapping capabilities. We not only navigate our physical world through map-based directories, we also want to see who is talking where, and what is taking place there.
The addition of social media sharing with mapping has made the maps so much more interactive, and has elevated maps as rich and timely repositories of information. Our involvement helps rank the most interesting or highest quality locations, and by sharing we have a greater chance of connecting with like-minded people to increase the size of our personal networks.
The iPhone has perpetuated a competition to use the latest and greatest devices and applications. Our use of social media is often motivated by wanting to know what’s hot in order that we may consume them, or to have an opinion on why there is or isn’t value in the latest innovations. We define ourselves as much by our appearance as by our knowledge of the latest applications and technologies.
Application makers often aren’t into monetary compensation, they’re after recognition as taste makers, and innovators. There is as much cachet in creating the most innovative virtual spaces as there is in other artistic and design-oriented pursuits. Digital architects are well on their way toward reaching the same kind of star status as the so-called “starchitects” for their creation of well-crafted places that we want to be in and a part of.
I wholeheartedly agree with the quote that apps are both a media and fashion business, and they are increasingly becoming real business by generating real revenue. The move toward richer and better mobile applications could quickly replace desktop applications as the primary place that we interact with our digital data and domain workflows.