Saturday, 28 July 2012

Making time for serendipity

Serendipity is about time and an attitude of mind. But it's not just about the individual: it also depends on the social context. Laura Dantonio proposed a Masters project that looked at the role of social media in facilitating serendipity. Her initial focus was on how people came across unexpected, but valuable, social media content, but it quickly embraced the idea that other people are intentionally creating this content and links to it. People are investing time in making opportunities for serendipity. This comes from both sides: both creating the opportunities and exploiting them. This is a gamble: there may be little pay-off for the time invested, because there's such a chance element in serendipity. The more we look at serendipity, the clearer it becomes that design is an important contributor to this experience, but that it is more about attitude: about openness to the opportunities that life presents (and recognizing unexpected connections between ideas), and the imagination to create opportunities for others. Laura's is the first work that we're aware of that really emphasises the social angle to serendipity: that people make opportunities for others to encounter interesting information.

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