I'm sitting outside Bar Italia in Soho's fashionable Soho. According to Swarm this is the 600th time I've been here. It's more though, obviously. I first came here in the 80s. I still like 'checking into' places. I like counting things like that. I like the sense of scale and tempo it gives me. I know we're all more and more aware of the pernicious effects of digital tools but I, at least, still like the tally-stick capabilities of the little pocket databases we carry around. I like that I can count things. I use Streak to monitor occasional minor medical occurrences and to remind me to take my statins. And to nudge me into writing every day. And to do these tinyletters.
My mother-in-law is visiting at the moment. She loves her newly acquired Fitbit. We were comparing notes about steps this morning over cereal and we agreed that counting steps occasionally nudges us both out of the sofa, but it never occurred to either of us to 'become friends' on Fitbit. That's not the point. Somewhere along the way all this counting, these notches on sticks, got intermingled with community and connection and competition and gamification. Counting became sharing became sousveillance. Now, rightly, we're running from that. But that doesn't make the counting worthless. It reminds me of what Nat and Dan wrote about Bulletin. I want a device that's smart but not connected. For counting.
Speaking of which...
(There are currently 366 of you. 366 geometry is a pseudoscientific metrology supposedly used by an alleged megalithic civilisation of Britain and Brittany. It apparently used a 366 degree circle rather than the 360 degree one we use today.)
PS: I've just noticed some of you are replying to these messages. That's very kind of you. Apologies for not spotting that before.