By Connie McCool Duncan
Nancy Jo Sales’ Vanity Fair article, quoted Justin Garcia, a research scientist at Indiana University, who explained that there have been “two major transitions” in heterosexual mating “in the last four million years”. The first, he claimed, was “the agricultural revolution” which took place “around 10,000 to 15,000 years ago” and which, through the introduction of a more settled society, led to the “establishment of marriage as a cultural contract”. The “second major transition” was, for him, “the rise of the Internet”. The article’s notion of the ‘dating apocalypse’ was linked to the fact that, given access to an incalculable number of potential partners online, we are now unable to settle for one person.
That said, while the rise of the Internet and the corresponding development of dating apps have made it easier to pursue casual relationships, ‘hook-up culture’ is not a 21st century phenomenon. Throughout history the only barriers to casual sex have been the threats of unwanted pregnancy and/or societal punishment. These obstacles began to be undone in the 1960s with the invention of the pill and they were further eroded by the profound societal change that has occurred since its introduction. The Internet and dating apps have given us access to a wider dating pool but their impact cannot be compared with, let alone considered greater than, that of this earlier sexual revolution.
The Vanity Fair article presented the changing state of modern dating in an almost comically negative light. However, to rile against an accessible and relaxed attitude to dating is to mourn the loss of an undesirable societal template whereby men and women are exposed to few potential partners, married young, and discouraged from leaving an unhappy marriage. In Vogue Karley Sciortino rightly called out the misogyny of Sales’ attitude. By reinforcing the idea that men have no feelings and women are always victims being used for sex, such articles only serve to resuscitate a stereotype that women have been fighting to bury since female virginity was first prized by the patriarchy.
The superficial image-centric nature of many dating apps is often used to justify disdain. Yet few users will swipe right in the belief that they’ve spotted their soul mate; unlike previous incarnations of online dating, in which complex algorithms were deployed to match potentially perfect partners, tinder does not provide false expectations of compatibility. You simply see someone you like the look of and you decide whether you want to talk to him or her. Funnily enough, unlike the elaborate machinations of the less-derided Match.com, this concept is actually pretty close to the traditional method of starting a conversation with someone you find attractive.
Furthermore, beyond being offensive, the perception that Tinder users only want one-night-stands is also wrong. Sean Rad, Chief Executive of Tinder, shared the results of a survey of over 300,000 users, which found that “over 80% of people on Tinder are there to find a long-term relationship”. As Natasha Lunn observed in Red, dating apps are “actually just a way to open another possibility, another window, another door to somewhere you haven't been to yet”. They provide those who are interested with a way of meeting someone that they might not have come across in daily life, they facilitate the awkward process of starting a conversation with a stranger, and they help those with busy lives make a human connection, be it for the night or for life. Granted, there are men and women on dating apps who behave badly but there are men and women who would behave badly in any dating scenario.
The negative response to the rise of dating apps is by no means universal but the resistance to them in some quarters highlights that we are not yet the equal, liberated society that we should want to be. It’s time we stopped judging apps like tinder and started celebrating them.
By Harry Cole
Did you know The British Library has Business Centres across the UK offering free resources and professional support to UK start-ups?
The UK government is working with The British Library to offer even more than the wealth of knowledge that can be found in books. It’s now a resource for small businesses, offering support and materials that in most instances would only available to major corporations.
Ideal for games, high-tech and apps companies, you could almost set up and run an entire business from your library. We’re talking city centre positions in Liverpool, Manchester, London, etc. With free WiFi, desk space, chill out areas, free research materials and databases worth over five million pounds.
You can join in sessions with local business representatives and entrepreneurs. Specialists are available to discuss IP Advice and other areas key to running a business. One-to-one sessions are available, or you can attend workshops and mini classes. The business hubs are tied to local government, with MPs and entrepreneurs in the local area backing initiatives. There are also advanced sessions which you can pay for.
There’s a specific team nationally to handle the initiative and representatives at major libraries across the country. In total there are eight national network centres across the UK, available six days a week.
In addition the British Library run a three month scheme worth £10,000 in support for business owners looking to scale up their company, called Innovating For Growth. It’s in partnership with the European Union, so you better be quick.
The remit of the Business Centres is to support ‘small business owners, entrepreneurs and inventors like you.’ So make sure you get in contact and take advantage of this plethora of support.
I was lucky enough to meet the British Library at the International Business Festival in Liverpool, thanks to our friends at UKIE for the invitation.
If you are interested in hearing more then visit http://www.bl.uk/business-and-ip-centre Just no shouting please, this is still a library.
By Veronica Moine
Design is an integral part of everyday life: It’s the background of all social interactions, especially at work. I was recently tasked to recommend some improvements to the Dimoso office, and it got me thinking about how design can influence morale, relationships amongst colleagues and the overall perception of the workplace.
In the 50s Psychogeography became a well established discipline and was used to study the effects of the geographical environment on emotions and behaviour. Nowadays architects and designers still rely on it to understand how people interact with and within the urban space.
In recent times, research has broadened to include the relationships between the design of the workplace and the business performance; showing the enormous impact that elements like space, light, furniture and colour have on how we work, on our ability to focus and be productive.
The latest office trend has been to have an open-space environment instead of cellular office. Encouraging colleagues to work as a team and share ideas in real time are some of the most evident benefits of an open plan space. A further element is the ease of maintenance particularly in terms of temperature control. Another advantage of this spatial structure is the ability to have flexible seating arrangements enabling workers to find the best place to work and get inspiration.
Light is a key component of our vision of the world. Inadequate lighting can cause eye strain, headache and indirectly affects your mood, energy and behaviour. A good office design should take advantage of natural light or use an indirect lighting source in combination with a small direct one.
Furniture plays an important role in increased productivity. Functional, visually appealing and moveable furniture makes the working space enjoyable and recognisable, allowing employees to reconfigure the work space according to their work style.
Ergonomic chairs are designed to help achieve good posture while working, preventing long-term problems such as back pain. Yet if you like to combine efficiency with physical exercise you can opt for a standing desk. This will help to achieve your daily activity goals quicker, as well as a counter to heart disease and obesity.
Also colours have psychological effects on business performance.
What I have found is, it doesn’t matter if you can’t afford a full office refurbishment, a small budget can improve your workplace dramatically simply by paying attention to small details. And the benefits can be seen and felt straight away. A cosy and liveable office will increase employees satisfaction and the sense of belonging to the company. Working in a place that reflects your needs is the first step for facing business challenges and building constructive relationships with colleagues and clients.
By Costanza Passeri
Last week Dimoso attended the annual UKIE Westminster VIP Games Reception. The evening was a celebration of excellence and creativity and a great chance to discuss the political agenda for games in the aftermath of Brexit.
The event took place at in the wonderful Whitehall Court, an incredible venue for such an important event in the games industry calendar. The special night held by Ukie aimed to bring together the most important names in games industry with leading figures of UK Parliament.
(Photo: One Whitehall Place library, venue of the event)
Ukie is a not-for-profit organisation that represents companies from small startups to large developers in games industry, working across online, mobile apps, consoles, PC, eSports, VR and AR.
The goal of the organisation is to support and promote their members, helping them grow in the UK games and interactive entertainment industry.
Guests were welcomed in the majestic One Whitehall Place library, between old paintings and modern screens where new generations of video games were being played.
The stands of Activision Blizzard, London Games Festival, SpecialEffect, Farm Heroes Saga and many more entertained the participants, showcasing the latest best practices and innovations.
The speeches, kick-started by Ukie CEO Dr Jo Twist, highlighted just how dynamic and successful the UK games industry is today. The evening demonstrated the government’s support of the games industry.
The presence of Culture Secretary, the Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP, showed this strong relationship so significant in this political period of change. During his keynote speech, the Culture Secretary appealed to the attendees, asking the industry share their voice, their needs and their ideas, in order to keep growing together.
(Photo: the Culture Secretary Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP)
It wasn’t just a night dedicated to innovation. Another strong bond was celebrated, together with values of inclusion and confidence.
Dr Mick Donegan explained the mission of SpecialEffect, a charity using technology to enhance the quality of life of people with physical disabilities.
The organisation played an emotional and intense video to show guests the amazing work done by volunteers using video games.
The power of games and interactive entertainment goes beyond the joy that video games could bring. As the people at Special Effect demonstrate, they can also have a deep positive impact on therapy, confidence and rehabilitation.
By Connie McCool Duncan
The concept of gaming is almost as old as humanity itself. Board games were popular with the pharaohs in Ancient Egypt, while Backgammon was being played throughout the Roman Empire in 2000 BC. The oldest known dice were discovered in a 5,000-year-old burial mound in Turkey and their descendants have been the scourge or saviour of many a family Christmas ever since.
However, as modern reliance upon smartphones spirals ever closer to addiction, more and more industries are undergoing a digital transformation. Having thus far withstood the test of time, some doubt that the board game industry can resist a similar revolution.
While it took 15 years for half of the UK population to get a mobile phone and 14 years to get multi-channel TV, newer technologies such as online catch up TV and social networking websites reached this landmark in just four years. This rapid development has led to a correspondingly rapid change in the way that we entertain ourselves and interact with others.
Yet the evidence does not suggest that technology is soon to kill off the board game. While digital games are now part of the entertainment mainstream, the past decade has also seen unexpected growth in the industry that many assumed would become redundant in an era of screens. Sales of board games are still dwarfed by those of the latest PC and console blockbusters, but the past four years have seen board game purchases rise by between 25% and 40% annually. Thousands of new titles are released each year, and the top board games sell millions of copies.
The rise of smartphones and tablets has given players an inexpensive way to try digital versions of board games, and many go on to buy physical copies as well. Additionally, online retailers have made rarer games more easily available than they have been in the past, while the power of blogs and social networks has created word-of-mouth buzz for an industry that, until recently, has been largely ignored by mainstream, non-gaming media.
Classic board games are still popular at family gatherings but the pastime has now been seized upon by a more grownup market. Throughout Europe and the US, a new breed of board gaming now thrives. Adopting the complex strategy and imaginary worlds of games like World of Warcraft, there are now titles that allow you to play at building medieval settlements, re-enact pivotal battles, tackle political debating, or manage the spread of disease, and they sell in huge numbers. Gaming enthusiasts, used to interacting with fellow players online, have seemingly embraced the social aspect of playing a board game with friends.
In the UK, the popularity of board games has been further bolstered by the emergence of board game cafesand bars. Set in the heart of Hackney, London’s first board game café, Draughts, took the Internet by storm when it launched in 2014 and now working professionals queue outside, waiting for a table. The café has a range of over 500 games, from popular gems like Articulate and Monopoly to hundreds of lesser-known titles. For £5 per person, customers can play as many games as they want whilst indulging in an expectedly-hipster selection of local craft beers, ales, ciders, and wines.
Rather than disappearing, the board game industry is adapting; a good board game generates a group experience that is different to that which a screen-based game can offer. Interacting with other people, regardless of their location, has been made easier through mediums like Skype, Facetime, Whatsapp, and Snapchat, but nothing beats being in the same room as the person that you are talking to. It is the face-to-face sharing of chaos, scheming, anger, and laughter that will ensure the survival of the board game in an increasingly face-to-screen world.