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November 30, 2008

Ambient Awareness Explains the Value of Online Social Activities

For those on Facebook who use it but don't yet understand its value (if you're on and actively using it then you probably get it but there are people who were reluctant at the start, myself included-- I'm talking about my college buddy Tyler, who I had I spent several months convincing-- I think he gets it know), read this (albeit a few weeks old) NYT piece on digital intimacy and microblogging.

Here's the key excerpt.

"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."


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