Talking to Walls

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This week I've had relationships on my mind.

Flight Patterns by Aaron Koblin

It seems that everywhere around the world – both in physical and virtual space – people are looking to connect and converse

Popular iPhone applications such as Foursquare and Gowalla allow you to virtually tag and leave messages in physical locations, including recommendations, opinions and new - creating a whole new form of conversation in space.

It's visible if we look up at the sky into our flight patterns, as visualized by the amazing designer Aaron Koblin.

I see it in my ever-increasing Facebook friends' list and the endless twitter chatter that overwhelms my iPhone.

Grindr is a free location-based application that allows gay men to determine the exact location of local guys and instantly connect with them.

Sharkrunners, designed by area/code for Discovery Channel's 20th Anniversary Shark Week, is a game of oceanic exploration that connects virtual discovery with real-world sharks. Players navigate a virtual ship through their digital interface in real-time and encounter actual GPS-tracked sharks based on the virtual position of the ship and the physical location of the sharks.

Some of these platforms are for socializing, some for news, some for recommendations, some for dating, some for discovery and play. Regardless, I think that all of these developments are an expression of our hunger for connection, conversations and relationships. That's what makes us human. It's how we learn, share, emote, and entertain.

So when we collectively design the future, can we remember to make spaces that value relationships between people and their places, and facilitate connection? I suspect that if we can embed our social media into our architecture, we will soon be talking to walls. And that they'll be listening.

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