1. On Ambient Intimacy

    brian on 2008.09.07
    at 01:58 am

    I know I’ve posted articles about Twitter before, but this one is a must read. Clive Thompson in the New York Times Magazine discusses the Brave New World of Digital Intimacy. This guy really digs deep into the world of what’s becoming to be known as “ambient intimacy.” Talks about both Twitter and Facebook. Interestingly, I’ve met some of the people in this article, both online and off!

    I’m going to do a piss-poor job writing a thoughtful blog post about it, so instead, I’ll give you a lengthy, choice quote instead.

    In essence, Facebook users didn’t think they wanted constant, up-to-the-minute updates on what other people are doing. Yet when they experienced this sort of omnipresent knowledge, they found it intriguing and addictive. Why?

    Social scientists have a name for this sort of incessant online contact. They call it “ambient awareness.” It is, they say, very much like being physically near someone and picking up on his mood through the little things he does — body language, sighs, stray comments — out of the corner of your eye. Facebook is no longer alone in offering this sort of interaction online. In the last year, there has been a boom in tools for “microblogging”: posting frequent tiny updates on what you’re doing. The phenomenon is quite different from what we normally think of as blogging, because a blog post is usually a written piece, sometimes quite long: a statement of opinion, a story, an analysis. But these new updates are something different. They’re far shorter, far more frequent and less carefully considered. One of the most popular new tools is Twitter, a Web site and messaging service that allows its two-million-plus users to broadcast to their friends haiku-length updates — limited to 140 characters, as brief as a mobile-phone text message — on what they’re doing.

    I only wish a few more of my geographically dispersed friends would pick up Twitter. It’s so much more efficient than Facebook for keeping up with each other, though Facebook has the edge for richness.

    Posted in: Web


    Comments (1)

    1. Jake said on 2008.09.08 at 11:17 am

      I find it frustrating that people outside the loop judge you for it. Just because I noticed you went on vacation through Facebook does not make me a stalker.

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