My take on the "putting people first" concept
(EDIT: This post is not about facebook home or about the fb vs wp topic. So if you want to comment on those things, please do it in other comment sections. Thanks!)
Since WP's "putting people first" concept seems to be getting more popular with Facebook home, I want to share my take on it with you guys. Please share your thoughts, which might be very different from mine.
"Putting people first" could be described as a way of making devices more true to life, integrated into life and reflecting real life - because real life IS about people (and activities). Social networks and personal media are the main sources used to achieve that goal.
Though the basic idea is nice and seems very attractive, there is a problem with it: The sources (from social networks and personal media) do NOT reflect real life, but just a certain (depending on one's life style more or less) small part of it. I don't think anyone will disagree with this statement, but here are a few examples to show what I mean: Not all but only certain people we communicate with use social networks; a friend's fb activities do not tell you what's going on in their life, they just show what they posted to fb; Profile pictures do not show the person per se, they are just profile pictures made with certain intentions; photos taken with your device are most likely not all taken to reflect your life (some may be taken to show something to a friend, some may be shots of lists or text that you don't want to copy by hand, et cetera).
So what does reflect real life? My answer is: only real life reflects real life. Referring to the examples listed above: Your friend's name (and your memories that are associated with that name) represents them better than their profile picture taken in a specific situation; The only way to know what's going on in a friend's life is by talking to them.
So I believe that the only way a device can enhance our (social and personal) lives is not by making it a place where life happens or where life is being reflected, but by using it as a tool within real life - in the case of smartphones that would be using it purely as a communication tool (phone, video call, mails, social networks), which is what they have been doing ever since they existed. So I think that trying to make it more than a tool, trying to make it a mirror to our relationships and personal lives, is unnecessary, and achieving that goal is impossible.
So I wonder why we want our devices to do that, and why even I, with all my obvious intellectual rejection to that idea, kind of dig the thought (or rather fantasy) of carrying a door to my own life and my friends right in my pocket? I think the answer to that is just what people mean when they say "get a life". Unlocking your smartphone and feeling like looking at your personal and social life makes us feel like living just that personal and social life. I wonder if it might be better to really live it and use the smartphone as what it is, a tool.
PS to all those who wonder if maybe I should get a life instead of writing long posts like this - yea, I've been wondering that myself ;)