Ambient Awareness – What is your Social Media Super Power – COM0011 – Post 6

I can read your mind!

Ambient awareness is a term used by social scientists to describe a new form of peripheral social awareness. This awareness is propagated from relatively constant contact with one’s friends and colleagues via social networking platforms on the Internet. Some examples of social networking websites are Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Blogger,, etc. The term essentially defines the sort of omnipresent knowledge one experiences by being a regular user of these media outlets that allow a constant connection with one’s social circle. From Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia

According to Clive Thompson of the New York Times, ambient awareness is “very much like being physically near someone and picking up on mood through the little things; body language, signs, stray comments…” Therefore, in effect two friends who regularly follow one another’s digital information can already be aware of each other’s lives without actually being physically present to have a conversation. Interview: Clive Thompson’s “Smarter than You Think” – The New Yorker

“It’s a sort of global water cooler, with all the good and bad that suggests.” Clive Thompson

That seems out there, like ESP or some kind of super power?

Have you noticed that you know way more about your friends and family then you used to? You have not seen someone in months but still know that they just got a haircut or that they are in a bad mood but you haven’t communicated with them directly in days?

Here is an interview with Clive Thompson one of the few but growing people saying that Social Media is good for us.

Smarter than we think

One of the things he mentions is that we need to know when to step away from our tools and networks and when to connect, something I have been ranting about with colleagues and family for a while, we need to get some healthy user habits and we need to start teaching them to others.

Clive says we can think more clearly if we step away from it all from time to time, what a novel idea <no really>.

So what do we do with our new found super powers?

As far as humanity, technology, social media, evolution etc. I think Professor X had it right.

Prof. Charles Francis Xavier (X Men, 2000): …it is the key to our evolution. It has enabled us to evolve from a single-celled organism into the dominant species on the planet. This process is slow, and normally taking thousands and thousands of years. But every few hundred millennia, evolution leaps forward.

Sorry for the bad AV quality, but you get the idea.

2 thoughts on “Ambient Awareness – What is your Social Media Super Power – COM0011 – Post 6

  1. Great topic – I often find myself a bit distracted since being a avid user of social media tools. I tend to go on the internet to research something, and oh, will just open my Facebook in the meantime to see what is new…and end up passing 30 minutes on reading posts and looking at friend’s and family’s pictures…without noticing the time go by..!!!!..

    I do believe that we need to set some boundaries and select times with no technology: first, during a meal and, if you have a significant other, to not be on your iPad or device at bedtime!

    For one, apparently the light of these devices don’t help with the sleeping mode (keeps us awake for longer…) and for two, its about the only time my fiancé and I have time to talk about our day and plan things for the following days…For me, these are 2 rules I try to live without technology! Also, when I go camping – no devices allowed! And it feels SO good ! I often wonder what it will be for our children – they start playing on iPad games so early now….It will just be a common thing for them….

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