You and I, We’re, We’re Interfacing

As I’ve already expressed here, I see myself more as a digital consumer than a digital anything-else-more-complicated-than-consumer, like, say, a producer or scholar of digitally things.  Being primarily a consumer of digital things and a newbie to any other more complicated relationship with digital things, I feel uncomfortable with terms like “interface.”  It feels like I need some level of expertise to know what it really means and to know how experts in the field use it.  In short “interface” is a very specific nerd word, and unfortunately, I’m the wrong kind of nerd to know how to use this word correctly.  But, I think, with the help of recent readings and class discussion, “interface” means the look and format and structure of a particular digital entity like a webpage or specific program or device.

I also assume that included in this term “interface” is not just the things you see and click on the surface level, but also the goings on behind the digital surface that have made the interface look or function in that way. So, how the data and information has been and is structured in order for a certain digital entity to look and function the way it does.  ((This is gibberish because I have no facility with the necessary jargon or terminology and can’t really even locate what field or fields the use of the term “interface” is most prevalent in)). tells me that the term “interface” is much broader than I assume it to be within the context of digital spaces and that the term is used across countless disciplines.  Apparently, an interface is the common boundary or interconnection or place of communication or interaction between any two entities. That broader definition makes sense to me in digital contexts too. The google interface is the boundary and place of interconnection and communication between me and the mass amounts of information google will bring me about whatever I want to know more about.

Although this is not necessarily an inherent aspect of the term “interface,” class readings from Selfe and Selfe, Bolter, and McPherson have a lot to say about how digital interfaces are ideological constructs.  This also makes sense to me. If an interface is a boundary and a way of structuring information, how could it not involve some distribution of power and endorsement or rejection of certain specific ideologies?

PS: the first place (and really only place until very recently) I heard this term, FRIENDS!!

Can you tell from the mass amounts of qualifiers and hedges in this post that I really am unclear as to what the term “interface” really means? Help!


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