April 17, 2003: I just had an interesting online experience. I wanted to sell my old digital camera. First I listed it on craigslist, which is essentially a glorified newspaper classified. Multiple people expressed interest and arranged to come see the camera but then never showed up, thereby wasting a fair amount of my time. Finally I listed it on ebay. The up-front effort of wading through the (none-too-spectacular) ebay interface was a bit onerous, but then a magical thing happened: someone won the auction (for more than I had expected) and the exchange went smoothly, camera sold.

What I find noteworthy here is that, while interaction designers often talk about software enabling human interaction, in this case, the main benefit was that the software reduced the amount of human-human interaction. In many cases, I'd rather deal with a machine than a person, no matter what Clifford Nass says.