Ping Practic (0.1)

Using existing apps to approximate the eventual Ping Practice app design

This experiment started on 10 April 2023.

The Twitter experiment proved successful in so far as the behavior it was intended to help me evaluate – noticing and naming Pings – .

Motived to experiment with ways to simulate the serendipitous revisiting and discovery the app describes and prompted by a conversation with Prateek, this experiment is an effort to prototype a distinct place I can go to revisit and discover past Pings.

Research questions

  1. What happens when there is a dedicated place for me to browse, search, edit, elaborate on, and organize the Pings I capture? What do I notice myself instinctively needing/wanting to do? What do I notice myself NOT instinctively doing/thinking about?

  2. How might the design of the first app iteration need to evolve in order to more reliably lead people to develop a practice of arriving at the insights and creating the meaningful artifacts that will help them unblock themselves?

Impact & Conclusions

Details

Log

18 August 2023

Sharing Pings with another person

Natalia and I talking led to me sharing my screen with her and scrolling back through Airtable, showing what's pinged for me recently.

While doing so, I noticed myself feeling at ease and grateful. Both by the content of the pings I was revisiting and the space this friend has generously opened for me to do so.

I also noticed this act prompted Natalia and I to talk about what we were both seeing. That part felt especially nourishing and inspiring to me.

7 July 2023

Making "🟒 Active" a daily act

I'm coming to find that what I need to be reminded of is dynamic; it varies day-by-day. And yet, I'm still not yet feeling like the "🟒 Active" view inspires me to revisit and reprogram it at a commensurate cadence.

The automated email is helping some. Seeing the "🟒 Active" email arrive each day has caused the space itself to become more top of mind, but I've yet to find myself going into Airtable and asking myself, "Which of these are still relevant for today? Which is relevant for today that might not currently be represented?" and acting on the answers.

With this context in mind, an idea emerged this past weekend (30 June): I set an intention for a defined period of time:

This worked for me! I remembered the intention and for the most part, embodied it.

The success of this little experiment brought me back to think about "🟒 Active" and wondering whether the pings within it ought to be bounded by time in some way. I feel like I'd rather arrive in active and there be nothing there than arrive there and the contents feel stale. I worry that in the latter scenario, the value of the view itself starts to degrade over time. I also wonder how the view might feel more delightful, more inspiring...I want to arrive in "🟒 Active" and feel pulled to touch things, move things, "pick things up," etc.

25 June 2023

Automations

Woah, this morning (Sunday) as I was revisiting the pings I've sent over the past week I learned about the "Automation" functionality Airtable offers.

To start, I've set up an automation that will send me an email me each morning with a list of the pings within the "🟒 Active" view. This view is filled with the pings I've said I'd like to remember / keep top of mind.

I think I was immediately attracted to the potential of the Automation functionality because I've noticed myself not revisiting the intentions within the "🟒 Active" view consistently. As a result, when I do revisit the view, I find the pings that are there stale/no longer as resonant or relevant. I wonder if the view itself being more present in my mind might cause me to more actively tend to and use the space for what I originally needed it for: to help me remember the intentions I'm trying to embody.

Say more

I continue to love having the ability to "say more" about a ping that speaks to me as I'm going back and revisiting.

Earlier today, I happened upon a ping about a new potential are.na channel and immediately felt compelled to start using Airtable's commenting feature to start drafting a potential description for the yet-to-be created channel. A little bit of movement and progress made possible by the tool I needed in that very moment being close by!

6 June 2023

When I open Airtable in low-intent moments to browse through past pings, I notice myself gravitating towards shorter entries and quickly bypassing longer ones.

I wonder if this pattern could be explained, in part, by how little attention I feel motivated to expend in these in-between moments and how quickly something needs to grab my attention for me to become engaged.

29 May 2023

I want to tidy these notes up...

  • instinct to archive "..reliably produce coherent structure" (bit of language I resonated with and have since used)

  • adding comment to contextualize a quick ping "urgency instilled"

  • amazing how quickly i can remember the moments these thoughts emerged within. reminds me of the bit about forgetting:

    • I have more to say here, but the important thing to me in this moment is the freedom from thinking that it is me who is breaking. It is not me. It is the tools themselves and I need more from them. source

  • i'd like to see what's resonated with me over time

  • i'd like to be able to turn a ping into a timer

  • maybe there's an activity feed?

12 May 2023

Resonance Button + Count

Today, I added a button that, when clicked, increments an integer within the newly-added Resonance count field by one.

I'm thinking this could be an effective way for my present self to say something to the effect of, "Hey, you seem to be curious about this." to my future self. A future self that could be wondering, "What has been connecting/resonating with you lately?"

While it feels important to me that interface present information/cues without being too opinionated about what – if any – action you take in response, I can immediately see the answer to the above being helpful for deciding what you might consider sketching a guide/tool for.

Unfortunately, Airtable does not support scripts, and by extension the ✚ button on mobile :/

11 May 2023

🟒 Active View and Jigs

Okay! Something is connecting and I'd like to try to map it out...

I notice the current Airtable set up enabling/prompting/affording me the ability to do what I felt like I've needed all along: "present peter" within the fleeting moments where has sensed opportunities to apply them.

Naming the above feels notable. Reason: in coming to realize this impact, I think I'm also starting to see the factors that may be contributing this slight behavior change emerging:

  1. I'm revisiting 🟒 Active often.

  2. In revisiting, I'm engaging with/"picking up"/thinking/considering what's there. Said another way, when I'm in 🟒 Active , I'm active! I'm asking myself questions like, "Is this card still relevant? How might I make this language more memorable? What picture/video might illustrate the essence of this card?"

Put simply, I think "1." and "2." are causing these cards, and the messages they represent, to remain present in my mind when I'm out in the world, away from this interface.

Resulting questions

7 May 2023

IDs + Record linking

Ok! Two adjustments tonight that I feel energized about...

  1. I added an ID field to the Airtable base and exposed it on cards in the 🟒 Active view. This field will get automatically populated each time a new record is added.

  2. I added a field that will enable me to link records together.

When I combine the following three things:

  1. The two adjustments above

  2. The language shift from πŸ“Pinned to 🟒 Active,

  3. The assumptions that I'll continue regularly revisiting the "🟒 Active"view

... I can start to see a future where:

  1. I'm able to recall the IDs of cards that are important/meaningful to me at any given time from memory.

  2. I'm revisiting, referencing, refining, and expanding these cards more often and by extension, they're becoming more meaningful.

Note: the two scearios I'm describing above already happens to me at work with Phabricator It usually goes like this... We'll start work on a range of tickets. There will be some subset of these tickets that I/we reference more often than others. As this happens, I start to memorize the numbers of these tickets. And then, because I've memorized these ticket numbers, I end up referencing these tickets in conversation and in my own thinking/writing more often. In doing so, I end up revisiting these tickets to contribute new information (no matter how small) and refine what's already there. I also link to these tickets in the new tickets I create and comments I write elsewhere.

5 May 2023

Marking a thread as active

I find myself needing some extra support as I move into creating public doorways into this project (I'm thinking about a conversational video format to start. E.g. TikTok or Instagram Reels).

To provide that support, I'm going to experiment with doing the following:

  1. Creating a thread to "host" / "hold" the conversation about this voice I find myself wanting to use

  2. Marking this thread as 🟒Active so that it's easy for me to revisit.

  3. Associating a picture with this thread so that it's more memorable and easier for me to arrive into the mindset it's asking me to.

  4. Using Airtable's native Commenting feature to hold any thoughts that may emerge in the future. Note: this one feels notable in so far as it's the first time I'm branching out from Twitter as the sold mode of composing.

3 May 2023

Prompting / Scripting

I jotted down – what felt like – a bunch of thoughts in my Drop Journal this past week. On Sunday (30 April), I sat down at my computer to try to make some sense of them ahead of the week I'm currently in.

To ready myself for this sensemaking, I created a view of what I'd dropped in my journal over the past seven days and brought up the 04.30.md note within my DailyNotes alongside it. Raw material and a surface to sort through it.

In doing the above, I was wanting to revisit the specific things I'd been thinking about. More specifically, I was wanting to arrive back in the headspace those thoughts emerged within. Seeing everything together in a moment where I felt like I had the space and energy to think was wonderful.

Reflecting on the above brought me back to what Obi shared during the first set of conversations. Obi shared that when he arrives in the studio for a recording session, he'll often pull up his Apple Notes to review what he's been thinking about to see if anything there inspires/moves him to make music to.

The connection I'm drawing here between the experience I had on Sunday and the experience Obi shared with me some months ago feels fresh and notable to me. I think it's because I'm starting to see a more visceral connections between these contexts/applications: improvisation and bringing together/readying the "raw material" to do so.

Improv

The reflection/observation above is leading me to see a potential way through the blockage I've felt posting more publicly...

What if I act like Obi does:

  1. Book "studio sessions" for myself. As in: I'll commit to making something to share at a specific time and place for some bounded period of time.

  2. In the time between each "improve sessions" I'll log all the ideas that surface to me in a consistent place.

  3. When I arrive at the "studio" I'll "swipe through" the ideas that I've accrued through "2." and act on one that speaks to me.

27 April 2023

Pinned

I'm starting to use the "Pin" field I set up yesterday which in turn inspired me to add an image today. Cool!

Aside: I wonder if it might be interesting to call – what I'd previosuly been referring to as "Favorites" – simply "Active"...at least by default. Keep it simple, generic, and uncomplicated by people bringing existing meaning and expectation(s) to the word.

26 April 2023

Added a "Pin" field that I'm thinking I can use to mark and quickly return to thoughts I want to more easily revisit.

24 April 2023

Dashboard

Woah!

Now that I've got this dashboard set up, I'm immediately curious to see how - if at all – this view provides me a lens through which to look at, and engage with, this Ping Practice.

Adding meaning to "Favoriting"

Discovering that Airtable makes it possible to associate an image with a record (or in this context, a Ping), is helping me to imagine a new potential choice to consider when revisiting: looking out for Pings that feel especially resonant so that I can consider elevating them in some way (e.g. associating an image, or other types of media) to deepen/enhance/extend the meaning/message of the Ping and my ability to remember that meaning/message.

Note: the above was prompted by me experimenting with setting up a "Dashboard" for the base I set up in Airtable. In doing so, I thought "Oh, it might be interesting to visualize how many Pings I've 'Favorited'."

See: https://twitter.com/pingpractice/status/1650580408151740417

12 April 2023

Just now, I was saying something in @pingpractice. In the process, I noticed myself making a choice not to use a possessive pronoun. In making this choice, I thought to myself, "Oh this would be a good convention/pattern to name in the "Personal syntax" are.na channel I started."

Next, I opened up are.na and I started drafting this block to describe/bring shape to this convention. A few moments in, I noticed myself getting stuck, not locating the words I felt like I needed to express the idea that prompted me to visit are.na in the first place.

"Hmm, what to do now?" I thought and then realized, "Oh, I've "pinged" (trying out this language) about this before."

I then went to Notion to search for pronoun which quickly returned what I've said in the past about possessive pronouns and ultimately helped me arrive at the language I needed!

Before Monday, I would've gone directly to Twitter to attempt the search above which past experiences have led me to doubt whether that search would return the Tweets I'm fairly certain existed.

11 April 2023

Day/time lens/filter

I finished this past Monday (10 April) feeling similar to how I remember myself feeling the Monday before (3 April).

This led me to experience, and subsequently develop a bit more conviction around, the utility of the app offering people an easy way to see what they've said on days/time that are similar to the moments they currently find themselves to be in and/or curious about.

In response, I created a new view within Notion that enables me to easily .

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