Media Perspective: Head to Shoreditch cafe for cake and a post-digital lesson

One of the constant problems of all this digital hoo-hah is telling people what your job is.

"What do you do?" they ask, and many of us are completely stumped. Frankly, even when I was a plain vanilla planner, most people assumed my main responsibility was despoiling city centres. Now I've gone all interactive, I have no idea how to explain things.

And, of late, due to a surfeit of pretentiousness, I've been claiming that I spend my days investigating "the post-digital", and that's really got people baffled. That was until 1 April, when the digital agency Poke London announced BakerTweet and "post-digital" became easier to explain.

BakerTweet is a bit of hardware, stuck on the wall near the oven in the Albion cafe in Shoreditch. A big dial on the front lets the bakers scroll through a bunch of possible baked goods and a big button lets them select the one they have just cooked. Then, in a triumph of technologically enabled silliness, that information is automatically sent to the restaurant's Twitter account @albionsoven.

The last tweet I saw before writing this said: "Bouncy, beautiful cupcakes, nice and iced, plump, and ready for your delight" and linked to a picture of exactly those. And I can see your eyes rolling right now, through both time and space; but hold that scepticism, because although this is a rather whimsical example, this materialisation of the digital into the physical is exactly what I mean by post-digital, and it's going to be an important theme for a few years to come.

Here are a couple of features to note.

First, it's about delighting with data, taking prosaic information (like the cakes you've just made) and pushing it out to people in the way they want it, not demanding they come to you. In this case, for instance, Twitter is perfectly chosen. It's something you can receive on the move and it's tonally suited to this sort of light-hearted interaction. And, smartly, Poke has thought about the needs of both the customer and the person entering the data. There's no need for the baker to fire up their computer every five minutes, the box on the wall does it all.

Second, the choice of Twitter means the BakerTweets are easily accessible for other people to remix and do something with. And, very swiftly, someone did.

A chap called Peter Parkes quickly put together an app that combines BakerTweet with the geolocative service FireEagle so that if his favourite pastry has just been baked and he's currently within a mile of the Albion, he'll get an SMS telling him so, so he can make an appropriate diversion. That's wonderful. That's post-digital. I just hope it's not all a huge April Fool's jape.

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