Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Oct 2022

An Analogy of Presence

Watching young ones with connectivity is always a lesson. You might see them being distracted, or mindlessly entertained. I see them as navigating multiple realities without a sense of the boundaries of bias or manners.

Younger family members have been doing a thing where I’m put on FaceTime while they are doing something else. There’s sometimes silence when they are doing one thing, but I’m present. Others think or see this as “why aren’t you talking while on the phone?”

And yet, this isn’t the point. They have presence “in a box.” It is presence which they equate (to me) similar to being in person and attentive to. Presence that isn’t insistence of active talking and watching, but that of active being, showing, and living. It’s a wider, deeper form of presence than radio/phone, TV, cable, and even 1st emergent-internet. This group seems ready most for augmented spaces… and yet is it only because they are missing the bounds of purpose, priority, and even posture?

One younger family member, as I’m writing on this very thought, has me on FaceTime, while watching something on YouTube Kids. They ask of my opinion on what they can see but I cannot. And in the distance, chided for not talking to Uncle.

Their analogy of presence is very much different than ours. And where they take this, once they figure the tools, priorities, and efforts they want to esteem, could be amazing and terrifying.