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Rethinking communication in the digital age A discursive project on digital distractions.

Browsing copy

Rethinking communication in the digital age RESEARCH REPORT

INTRODUCTION Communication has played a big role in how we nurture and build good relationships. But today it is highly influenced by digital aids and social networking platforms, which resulted in a rising phenomenon of how people are all connected just on surface level. Our daily lives and attention span are also constantly interfered by ubiquitous distractions caused by pervasive daily technology. But we are so numb by it that we do not feel the invasiveness anymore.




Generation Z are kids born after the introduction of the digital technology. They are the sole concern because they are born into this realm and they do not see the difference. To them they are not connected in isolation as most of their peers and surroundings are doing the same. It bring to the point now how will we communicate in the future? This place that we are living now is closely interlink with technology and connectivity for progression. Will giving up convenience be harder for them than the digital immigrants?

Rethinking communication in the digital age RESEARCH REPORT

Z Generation

People are more connected now


Rethinking communication in the digital age RESEARCH REPORT


Text Messages

Communication shift in tools and methods


Towards screen age

Interfaces going flat. Interacting with digital versions of various physical mediums (calendars, notepads, clocks, etc.) becomes second nature. We are gradually adapting to all these flat images as commands with little struggle

Everything becomes a flat sensation

Touch screens are dominating alot of our social interaction today. We are getting use to interacting with inanimates, commands and getting things done via finger tips. What about playing piano, flipping through pages in books and feeling the warmth of touching your pet? Are we ready to give up these for a virtual substitute?

Rethinking communication in the digital age RESEARCH REPORT

People can now get more out of a single device

Communications are now increasingly being replaced by social media platforms.

Towards infinite scrolling times

“Today, we deal with a nonstop flow of information, some of it important and relevant, most of it not. We are constantly evaluating, filtering and, of course, creating content through our devices with small screens, thus exacerbating that feeling of overload.�

Future of communicationInformation age Future communication sparks a new wave of information age, where we face a diversity of information overload. Information will be big and it is going to have power to manipulate us.

Connected lifestyle

One of the few products that were on the hype during the late 2013- 2014 were the wearables, like Fitbit, Google glass and Jawbone. These examples were perfect examples of some of the connected products that were closest to our body, plays a part in affecting how we communicate in society. It will be a common sight to see communication between inanimate object and people. How will we manage communication talking through an object?

Rethinking communication in the digital age RESEARCH REPORT

Modern-day disability

Technology now taps on sensing brainwaves that will feel very natural akin to an extra organ. In the future, we might not need to express our thoughts anymore; we can count on peripheral objects like these can do the job for us. Will technology start to control us? What about thoughts and emotion we do not want to be shown, will we still be able to control? Do we have to grow stronger brain to counter such sensing in the future? Will we face a period when the smarter the devices are, the dumber we get? Because we do not use the brains as much as before, we relied on pre-planned algorithm and slowly let the brain deteriorate.

Technology from peripheral objects to intergration?

The end of Online and Offline

Parallel space “To an extent we already inhabit a parallel space: time spent on Instagram, Twitter or other social media is time spent in a virtual community rather than the real world. The cliche of the person so entranced by their iPhone that they notice nothing of their physical surroundings is just the beginning of the migration towards parallel digital worlds that are as convincing as the real one.�

Rethinking communication in the digital age RESEARCH REPORT



Today, digital natives switch their attention between media platforms once every two minutes. They tend to place emphasis on their virtual social activity then what is happening now. With a device in hand, they hardly ever experience offline anymore, hence constantly caught in situations of stepping in and out of these two realms.

Everyday, our lives grew more dependent on the virtual world.

But it is not about the t e c h n o l o g y, it is how we cope with our human needs

Rethinking communication in the digital age RESEARCH REPORT

Maslow Hierarchy of needs pyramid

Esteem Love & Belonging

Digital advancement and social media is able to fill the voids of certain need requirements in human being. Connecting people all over the world at the ease of one’s comfort zone.

Numb by c o n s t a n t distraction

Frog in boiling water syndrome

As the boundary between the virtual and physical spaces continue to blur, notification was identified as one of the mediator that constantly lure people into the digital world, connecting both spaces together.

Rethinking communication in the digital age RESEARCH REPORT

nusdid2014 took a photo of you

Kiera Lin just added you on Facebook

Message from -

Rethinking communication in the digital age RESEARCH REPORT

\ What is the role of notifications? - to notify, to remind. - the translator, the postman, the messenger - relays information/ messages \ Notification is a piece of one-way invitation It is a tool to tie together people’s engagment in the online and offline realm. \ Notification is one of the ubiquitous distraction we faced everyday. It grabs our attention and it also disrupts our daily activities. We embrace invasive technology like it is only natural. What consequences might we face in the future?

This is a satirical take to bring back a little physical link with the idea of receiving information in a tangible form under the disguise of a wearable piece, making receiving pervasive notification visible to both the recipient as well as the people engaging with in any environment.

Artefact could be brought around or placed at home. Information are connected through WIFI

Rethinking communication in the digital age RESEARCH REPORT

Daily notifications will be dispense out from the artefact in real-time. Making your social activities tangible and visible to public through the course of use. It seeks to amplify the notion of pervasive information we received daily today and the amount of attention we devote into it. By seeing this constant flow of virtual disposable information becoming tangible, will we be more selective of our activities online? Will we become more discreet? Will we start to be conscious about our disruptive behaviours?

Understanding that such societal issue are not easily solved by mere objects as it encompasses many area such as varying behaviour and demographics. This project set to design artefact as a form of probing and asking for reflection from the society. That ultimately, it is our choice to be or not to be part of the digital degradtion.

Rethinking communication in the digital age RESEARCH REPORT

Information and communication technology impacts etiquette. New technologies make people cultivate new habits and culture. People are used to operate behind screens anonymously and they habitually bring their online activity to their physical world. Having to always connect with the monotonous digital interface, youths are getting weaker at detecting body language by their partner. We should not let digital convenience take precedent of what is true and real about our human interaction. All in all, we are not only communicating information but also communicating to people. If we remember and practices good etiquette in the digital realm, we will not lose the human touch. Only then social networking truly connecting us and we will not be connected alone.