17 August 2011

Dropbox as carrier pigeon

Several months ago, I shared a song with my friend Mike via Dropbox.

Days later, I was doing some hard drive housecleaning, and noticed a new file in my Dropbox folder called hi hi.txt. Inside was a line of text:

hello toky toky! -MLE, 1/17/2010

So, I responded.

oh my goodness, hello! -Johanna, 1/26/2011

Over time, another text file appeared.

And another.

We never talked about this, but kept adding to hi hi.txt little by little over time. This is what it looks like now (please excuse my too many exclamation points):

I love how we got used to and felt the medium out by mirroring each other's writing styles – first with writing our name and date after each message, and later evolving to just including the date.

To me it feels a little like long-distance, long-term message exchanges, like playing a game of chess with someone else via mailed letters.* Mike brought up how crazy it was that we were communicating by physically making changes to each other's hard drives over time. So sci-fi (especially since we live across the country from each other). Usually people who opt for slower communication do it in a way that purposefully ignores new technologies – the thought of slower communication existing within the very channels that its participants strive to distance themselves from had never occurred to me.

* How much would you scream if chess-by-mailed-letter became the next "thing?" I would never stop laughing.
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