Chapter 7


We all must communicate with one another, but what is the quality of our communication? In some ways, technology has provided us with the means to communicate more than ever before, constantly, and with more people. However, it has also meant that more of our communication is mediated and considered; it's less spontaneous, but we often apply more sophisticated expectations about communicating efficiently and effectively.

You can clarify your communication with some of this chapter's hacks (Hack 44, “Spell It Out,” and Hack 48, “Communicate Multimodally”) and communicate—or conceal—delicate shades of emotion with another (Hack 46, “Emote Precisely”). You will learn how to fit more communication into a medium with little bandwidth, such as a mobile phone text message, using a simplified and improved version of shorthand (Hack 47, “Streamline Your Shorthand”). This chapter will also show you how to create a kind of textual augmented reality that sands the rough edges of the Internet (Hack 49, “Mediate Your Environment”).

John Donne famously said that no man is an island. However, in a sense, some people are islanders, by choice or accident; even when we communicate prolifically, we're often isolated in other ways from those with whom we're communicating. The more isolated you are, the more it can benefit you to use the techniques in this chapter to upgrade your message-in-a-bottle communication system to something a little more high-tech.

Hack 44: Spell It ...

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