City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

Making social sharing visible

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Talk of tunA being developed the other day is hugely exciting. Just as Antimega Chris’s earlier, related idea was. Both make me wonder about what these interactions mean within a social space, though. Most of our existing shared social transactions in shared physical space are visible (or tangible in some way). What does it mean to leave these transactions invisible? Anything? Nothing?

Turn on Bluetooth scanning in a social space (pub) these days and you pick up nearby devices (phones) labelled "Dave’s 7650", "Stef’s mobile", "Keith Watson P800" etc. (and consequently are quite tempted to send these strangers that photo you took in the urinal moments before.) You tend not to (generally!) due to the possibility of physical detection and, er, meaningful interaction, I guess.

tunA and the like will enable a series of benevolent transactions with strangers, friend, anyone with the right gear. Do we want to make this visible? tunA’s image of sharing on the bus is nice. Do we want to make that sharing akin to a physical, social transaction? Would a visual nod of recognition – of receipt – add meaning to the otherwise invisible, inaudible digital transation?

My previous note ending up at smart clothes was slightly tongue-in-cheek (I’m not sure about the whole smart clothes thing in general), but I still found myself doodling this rough visualisation of how headphones linked to clothing which is reactive in some way could make these transactions casually visible:

Two blokes file sharing


5 responses to “Making social sharing visible”

  1. Ant Avatar

    What a lovely illustration, Dan. Oh yeah, the inspiration for it’s nice too!


  2. Future Now Avatar

    Location sensing and music sharing

    On tunA and the future of social sharing of music.


  3. Avatar

    Blue Jacking

    BBC News Online (as I shall always insist on calling it,) has an interesting article on Blue Jacking – an


  4. KC Avatar

    This already existed many years ago in a different form. Back in late 80s early 90s, Sony released a walkman in Asia which transmitted the tape signal at slightly lower frequencies than most radio stations. The headphones were radios but also could be set to the walkman’s frequency. As a few of us owned the same model, we quickly discovered that we could have one person’s walkman playing in their backpack whilst sharing with everyone. Once, I was trying to tune into a station and found some really great music … only to realise that I had tuned to the walkman’s frequency and it was in fact my friend’s walkman playing behind the wall in the other classroom. Personal radio stations.


  5. Dan Avatar

    Links originally sent to this post from other sites (before I turned trackbacks off due to spam)

    » Location sensing and music sharing from Future Now
    On tunA and the future of social sharing of music. [Read More]

    » Blue Jacking from
    BBC News Online (as I shall always insist on calling it,) has an interesting article on Blue Jacking – an [Read More]


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