Taps clicks and 404s
[an upside down essay on the ephemerality of digital experiences]
I divert, to ponder the ephemerality of digital interactions and online experiences, and if, at all, they can be considered ephemeral? And does to ponder something cease to make it ephemeral?
What the fuck is ephemerality and why is it worth pondering? The great epicentre of knowledge, Wikipedia, effortlessly describes it as "the concept of things being transitory, existing only briefly". A bit like many of my romantic endeavours. And perhaps how this pondering was prompted, from a point of online dating and how fleeting and inconsequential something may seem, but in fact, sits with one for far longer (than is necessary).
Commonly used to describe things in nature such as streams that follow the rain, or wetlands that form in tune with seasons. These phenomena come and go, and with them see a passing of life.
An adjective used to describe something as lasting a very short time - fashion is often considered ephemeral due to it's incessant stream of trends that come and go with the turning seasons. Yet, so much is cycled back into the stream of fashion. Ephemeral, yet never forgotten?
So how does this have anything to do with our internet wanderings, you may wonder? Well, I surmise that all these cleverly (and sometimes clumsily) designed interactions and user flows, that guide us through our exploration of the web, can be easily subsumed into one's daily activities. Yet, how fleeting are these taps, clicks and 404s and do they design a way of doing and being more than we realise.
Impact can be small and incremental, and if judging by the philosophy of tiny habits, long lasting and immense. While trends come and go both in fashion, and design experiences, they likely are not easily forgotten. What we may experience at the tap of a button, or the click of a mouse (likely soon to be ephemera of the internet life past) could be less transient than it's designed to be.
Basically, this likely says more about my interpretation of ephemerality more than anything else. Fleeting yet seldom forgotten. Is to be ephemeral to transcend the banality of existence? Or instead just be a slight sprinkling of glitter on the strife of life.
I suppose, what it ultimately comes down to, as a parting thought: What do we gain or lose in the conundrum of taps, clicks and 404s?