When you buy a new pen, a good stationer will have some reasonable quality paper to try it out on before you buy. This urge to give something a go, see how it behaves, is both natural and powerful. So when we’re transferring our behaviour into the digital realm, we shouldn’t be surprised that this urge comes along with us.
The Digital World
Some online services have met this urge by providing the option to explore, but not publish our efforts. Others provide a virtual environment that behaves like the live environment, but without consequences. My favourite term for these types of services is sandpit. It accurately evokes in me that same sense of hapless freedom that I had as a young child playing in a real-world sandpit. I could build, shape, and destroy as I liked and let my creativity free without thought of consequence.