09 Sep 2008
Ambient Awareness

This is the paradox of ambient awareness. Each little update — each individual bit of social information — is insignificant on its own, even supremely mundane. But taken together, over time, the little snippets coalesce into a surprisingly sophisticated portrait of your friends’ and family members’ lives, like thousands of dots making a pointillist painting. This was never before possible, because in the real world, no friend would bother to call you up and detail the sandwiches she was eating. The ambient information becomes like “a type of E.S.P.,” as Haley described it to me, an invisible dimension floating over everyday life.Clive Thompson, Brave New World of Digital Intimacy, NYTimes.com

A hat tip to Xeni Jardin: I scarfed the quote from her quote in the Boing Boing article “NYT on “ambient awareness,” ethereal intimacy, and internet ESP“.

I think you’ll find the comments on both Jardin’s and Thompson’s articles informative and entertaining, so check them out. If you’re curious about my indifferent participation in all this, see my “Breadcrumbs” post.

Category: Life-Society
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