The Power Of Ambient Awareness
from the getting-to-know-you dept
However, Clive Thompson has done an excellent job with his latest piece for the NY Times Magazine, explaining the concept of "ambient awareness" that describes Twitter and things like Facebook's news feed. It's not so much about telling everyone everything you're doing, or knowing everything that everyone is doing, but it does give you an amazing ambient view into what's going on in the lives of whoever you follow, and in an odd way makes you feel much more connected to them than you might otherwise. I know that I've become much closer friends with some folks entirely due to Twitter just because I'm more aware of what they're up to on a regular basis, rather than only talking to them infrequently.
I think the problem is that many people, myself included, originally think of Twitter in similar terms to email or instant messaging, where you're really expected to provide your undivided attention and to respond to what is sent to you. But Twitter doesn't work that way. It really is an "ambient" flow of information about what's happening with lots of different people, which makes you feel much more connected with them. It's great to see Thompson do such a good job explaining why, because despite experiencing it, I couldn't have put the concept into words like he did.