I’ve used a portion of the time spent thus far building this blog considering options for presentation variations. While there is a definite quantitative value to posting serialized entries into this system, then having them served back up sequential-blog style, something important is lost in the process. When you reorient information in such a way as this, you lose a bit of the qualitative element of the story being told. Specifically you lose the context of the story’s “place” and it’s distance from the current observer.
The qualitative aspect of a story, especially those which involve travel or location specific events, is actually a fairly well structured construct, consisting of elements arranged in both time and space. For example, the average newspaper comic strip manages to tell a story in both time and space.
If something as seemingly innocuous as a newspaper comic strip can so easily convey stories to users, why can’t a blog?
In most cases the standard model of a serialized or sequentially arranged blog, such as Tumblr or WordPress, is more than adequate for capturing the salient details of an event. These entries are automatically arranged by the system into a sequential list and presented back to users as a list of content posts arranged newest to oldest. What is much more difficult for these systems to convey when utilizing this rigid format are the spacial attributes of the story and the pace at which it took place. The truth is no single presentation system is designed to perfectly suit all the experiential components of a story. That is actually what we humans created culture to convey.
What I’m primarily addressing in this current experiment is the “distance from self” internalization process we all perform as a story unfolds. Cognitive theory (more specifically, two-factor theory of emotion) posits association by juxtaposition or by fusion. This cognitive method used to help internalize and empathize with both a story and it’s narrator. Standard blogging systems are poor at reconstructing the entire dimensional layering necessary (e.g., time, place, distance from where I am now) for a user to sufficiently evaluate the information.
To that end, I have been experimenting with this map-base user interface, which allows me to place blog entries back into the context of place. Time is also a component in this configuration but space is the predominant attribute by which a user navigates the available content. This configuration presents far less tool-based functionality for navigation than the standard indexed, categorized and serialized systems, such the one I am currently using to power the cord.is/ site, but it does tell a much better story I think.
My experimental travel blog is located here:
Take a look and let me know what you think.