For the next month or so, we're getting cozy and doing projects — spending some time focusing on how we can make Hyperlink great for small-scale creative collaborations. Code name: "Projects with Friends"!
So far, some of our favorite experiences using Hyperlink, and some of the coolest we've seen with other early users, involve intimate creative projects between just two or three people. Most often, just the project creator and one friend.
We're embarking on a series of experiments to use Hyperlink intensively in specific contexts, and we're starting with this use case of creative projects with close collaborators. We'll be doing our own collaborative projects, talking with project-doers, improving the app, and encouraging experiments in this vein.
Our main goal here is to scope down, take a deep dive to understand one compelling context of use at a time, and practice making Hyperlink really great in specific ways that support it.
We're thinking of a project as a concrete thing you make or do together — it should have a goal, some degree of boundedness (e.g. a deadline or completion state), and result in some kind of collaborative artifact.
A shared practice could count, though would benefit from some constraints; making a photo zine together feels more project-like than friends practicing photography together generally. Planning something (like an event or course) also could fit, as long as it's collaborative!
We want to emphasize with friends — doing the work together, rather than each doing our own projects and sharing them later. The latter is also great — collaborative circles — but feels like a distinct adjacent thing we can come back to later.
Ideal characteristics of such projects:
At this point, based on our own experiences using Hyperlink for projects, we know it when we see it. Having tried a number of projects, we've also identified areas with room for improvement:
We've got some ideas for our own projects to explore over the next month or so: things like songwriting, children's book ideas, reading projects, baking, crafts, RPG design, and e-ink hardware experiments.
We recently talked through over a dozen ideas for ways we'd like to use Hyperlink — from tools for IRL communities or residency programs to organize activities, to micro-schools, to async online conferences, to book clubs…and more!
There are a few reasons we picked the "projects with friends" use case as our first in a series of experiments:
This is the one we're collectively most excited about right now. It aligns strongly with great experiences we've had using Hyperlink, and feels like a continuation of our current thinking and a natural progression of the app that could bring it more focus.
It feels like there's demand here; we've talked to many creators who we think would get a lot of value from this, it's fairly legible, and it's flexible in supporting a range of the types of projects we like best.
Small scale collaboration — at the extreme, 1:1 — is a nice counterbalance to social media. Projects have boundaries; unlike algorithmic feeds and streams, they start and end. And projects we do with specific collaborators, rather than in a soup of loose connections, lead to us being more invested in the work and having more fun in the process.
Projects are great for learning! Self-driven learning remains a core value of Hyperlink, and pursuing projects you're fully motivated to explore can be the best way to learn. Too often the objects of online learning are only weakly aligned with our true interests and dreams, but we can design our own projects to give us what we need.
That said, there are a number of creative collaborative contexts we're excited to experiment with further. We want to practice focusing on one at a time, but plan to explore a couple others later in the year.
Some ideas and hypotheses we'd like to explore over the coming weeks:
We've got some initial ideas for how we can make Hyperlink better for doing projects with friends:
Getting notifications right is one of the most pressing, but we have more ideas than time to build them all — suggestions appreciated if you get a chance to try the app with a friend!
We've seen some great projects on Hyperlink so far — making a zine; exploring ideas for new computer hardware — and are excited to see more.
Here are two ways you can get involved:
We're looking to talk with a few people who a) do projects with friends, and b) would enjoy experimenting with Hyperlink for this kind of collaboration. We'd love to chat for around an hour to:
If that's you, send us an email — let us know what you're working on, and what times would be good for a chat!
Try making a Hyperlink Space to do a project with a friend, and let us know how it goes as you experiment. Reach out any time — we'd love to hear how Hyperlink can be better for doing intimate collaborative work.
If you'd like some eyes on a project, we're also glad to hop in and offer some feedback…particularly if it's something you know one or more of us may be into already :) Send us the invite link to the Space, and what kind of feedback or comments you're looking for.
Let's practice planting some (powerful, playful, pedagogical, personal, participatory, purposeful) projects!