I’m thinking about buying one. The interesting thing? My decision is creative, not technological. In ‘Mindset for mobile learning‘, i argued that technology facilitates experience, but that it doesn’t guarantee it, and that we crave the experience. My argument was that ever fancier phones and elaborate mobile learning management systems will not deliver great mobile learning: only great learning design will do that, facilitated by the technology.
Similarly, great technology will not make me a great photographer, but it may facilitate me to take great pictures. And interestingly, GoPro do that by solving all the little problems that nobody else thinks of. For example: it’s waterproof by design, encased in a ruggedised crystal case with waterproof buttons and fixing spots. It’s seamlessly tied to WiFi, it’s entirely user serviceable, with replacement lenses and parts of the case being cheaply available and coming with a screwdriver, and it’s tied in with a whole a whole social community for support and advice.
For me, the GoPro story is a model of the Social Age. It’s affordable technology that facilitates experience. The pack of clamps to attach it to the kayak are pretty cheap, i don’t feel that i’m going to be ripped off for every little extra that i need to make it truly functional: indeed, it feels fully functional right out of the box.
But the real reason why i see it as a product of the Social Age: because i found it through a recommendation (thanks Patrick) and because when i think about it, i think about the creative output i can achieve, not the specifications.
I guess that’s the panacea of all advertising, that the consumer envisages themselves in a fantasy world made real by your product, but in this case i think it’s right: traditional photography has been about SLRs, ISO and F stops, graduating to Megapixels RAW formats. But when we experience photography, we experience a picture of Aunt Mabel, or maybe that waterfall you saw on holiday. Or perhaps a Christmas party. Our experience of photography is in it’s role of narrating our history, facilitating our storytelling, not bit rates and optics.
The Social Age is about our ability to create meaning out of knowledge, to narrate our story, to learn and to share that learning. Technology that is social allows us to do that easily. It lets us deliver the experience.
Whenever we use technology in learning, to schedule training, to capture results, to assess, to entertain, to challenge, to record, we should always ask what it’s doing: is it there to facilitate the experience, or is it there because it does the job. Is it adding value or facilitating mediocrity? If it’s the latter, you’d better think about how to change things, because technology along won’t make your organisation agile, won’t allow you to unleash the creativity and innovation you need to survive, the creativity you need to thrive. We need the experience, the experience of learning, narrating and sharing. Social behaviours for the social age, facilitated by social technologies.