Authors: Perkins, S.Abstract:
Reorder TV (RTV) is an experimental web project designed to challenge common assumptions around the transactional nature of social media sites and the a priori of the standardised 'consumer/user', whose stereotypical needs such technologies inevitably seek to model (and therefore demonstrably serve). The project represents a challenge to commodification agendas implicit in the user-centred, product design methodology commonly employed by interaction designers. In this way, RTV seeks to redefine engagement with social media in terms of the value and interest of material accessible through such platforms rather than the performativity (Campbell Jones, 2003, p.512) of such work to engage friend networks more superficially in phatic communication (Vincent Miller, 2008, p.398) through their collective content liking and sharing activities.
Key to the design of RTV is the absence of an overt navigational model or framing interface metaphor. Clips within the collection of appropriated video cut-ups simply play-through, full-screen in the reverse-chronological order with which the were produced (not when they were shared by a user). In doing so, RTV subverts the social media convention that seeks to locate the user at the centre of an interaction-design experience. It does so through swapping-out interface controls, which might enable a user to make content viewing choices, replacing them with a software algorithm designed to expressly automate the sequencing of curated video streams without the intervention of a user. Additionally, RTV subverts the social media bromidiom of the platform 'home page' by using the ID of the most-recently-viewed clip as the site's default landing page. While experimental and relatively small-scale, RTV presents a challenge to the orthodoxy of social media's productisation agenda, which through its insistence on the a priori of the stereotypical user acts to redefine shared material as a type of commodified resource to promote phatic engagement rather than more comprehensively because of its own, intrinsic creative genius.