09 September 2008

Ambient Awareness - brining a small town feel back to the global village

"Ambient awareness" I just learned this term yesterday in a fascinating IHT article by Clive Thompson. Googling the term there seems to be very little out there, not even a rough new Wikipedia entry...

Ambient awareness is the product of micro-blogging with such applications as Twitter or the status bar on Facebook.

It's tiny shards of information about an individual that are often simplistic, even silly on their own. But taken over time, all those tiny bits of information about an individual add up to something much greater! They can reproduce something like the insights into an individual one gets when in close physical proximity to another.

The article points out that this is a very difficult phenomenon to understand until you have experienced it. I concur with this given my recent experimenting with Twitter. There are also potential downsides and misunderstandings, as with any new application.

My friend Edgar Tan has already blogged about this and considers how ambient awareness might be considered at the organizational level.

What's exciting to me about this is that ambient awareness can bring context and human scale back to the digital world. It gives a bit of that "small town feeling" back to the global village. It has the potential to enhance the human social linkages necessary to improve knowledge sharing and information management. And it can bring together a network that improves problem solving. That makes me smile! Something wonderful is about to happen...

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