Look At Your Fish: A New Kind Of iPhone Essay

I bet you “like” a lot of things on the internet, but you don’t love them. That’s the case made by a free new iPhone app experimenting with a new form of essay — a tap essay. posted on

One of the problems with the way we consume the internet lately is that we merely like things — we don’t love them. That’s the thrust of Fish, a free “tap essay” by Robin Sloan. It’s very good. I like it.

A tap essay, if you’re wondering, is “an experiment in a new format, entirely native to the iPhone” which “unfurl[s] its argument tap by tap, using bold typography, bright color, and a few surprises to make its case.”

This is probably the best thing about the proliferation of new media designed for looking — people are experimenting with the new ways to deliver reading experiences, from Kindle Singles to things like the Atavist to iPad magazines to well, this.

Cynically, you could read Fish as a solid, short essay that’s been converted into beautiful powerpoint presentation that you navigate by tapping. Since that’s how it unfurls as you tap through — you progress from slide to slide to slide, or bits inside of a slide, tap tap tapping. It’s, in one sense, not a medium you haven’t seen before.

But there is one thing that is genuinely new and interesting and also the entire point in some ways: You can’t go backward. You have to completely consume and digest a slide before you move on, because there is no going back. There’s just a reset, at the very end. And then you have to relive the whole experience again.

I hope you’re ready to look at your fish.

Fish is free for the iPhone. Snag it here.

robinsloan.com

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