Illuminated bible, hand-written letter, type-written memo, email, text message, Twitter update. I'm spotting a progression (or regression) here, from longer and more laborious, to ever faster and more inconsequential communication methods.
As a would-be futurologist, I have decided to predict what the next iteration in this self-truncating sequence will be. And it's this:
8x8 pixel icons
The service will be available as an application that runs in the Taskbar of Windows or the menu bar on your Mac. Each person on your friends list will display as a different icon. If you click your own icon you will get a magnified version of it in a pop up window that lets you edit those 64 pixels. When you close the window, your new icon is sent to everyone that has you on their friends list.
As well as a desktop application, there will obviously be a version for the iPhone, iPod Touch, as well as the Nintendo DS and Wii. And that's it. You've got room for a very squashed smiley or maybe a cryptic graphic. Does that icon of an envelope mean that you want someone to email you, or that you are at the post office? There's no way to tell and that, of course, is half the fun. Well it's probably all the fun, in fact.
The introduction of this service is an inevitability; the inexorable march towards the singularity demands it. Only one thing remains to predict - what will these silly icons be called? Moodicons? PixelBlips? Winkies? Anyone got anything better?