A New Intimacy Takes Netroot

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Test your social media IQ… do you know what Ambient Awareness is? If you have a Twitter and Facebook following, and most serious bloggers do, you will recognize a “new” social sensation of simply picking-up where you left-off when you eventually do meet-up in person with your online peeps. Even ones you’d never met f-to-f… until you eventually do.

Odd as it sounds, it’s all good and quite comfortable – for the most part. Making me feel closer and closer to friends met, and cultivated, in the blogosphere. On the other hand, as a forty-something constantly maneuvering between the old and the new media and mediums, I sometimes feel not only media-exhausted, but more and more estranged from the people I don’t communicate with daily via online tools and sites. This goes way beyond email, in other words. Maybe we are, via social media, evolving into an entirely new people.

From NYTMagazine (a preview version):

It is easy to become unsettled by privacy-eroding aspects of awareness tools. But there is another — quite different — result of all this incessant updating: a culture of people who know much more about themselves. Many of the avid Twitterers, Flickrers and Facebook users I interviewed described an unexpected side-effect of constant self-disclosure. The act of stopping several times a day to observe what you’re feeling or thinking can become, after weeks and weeks, a sort of philosophical act. It’s like the Greek dictum to “know thyself,” or the therapeutic concept of mindfulness. (Indeed, the question that floats eternally at the top of Twitter’s Web site — “What are you doing?” — can come to seem existentially freighted. What are you doing?) Having an audience can make the self-reflection even more acute, since, as my interviewees noted, they’re trying to describe their activities in a way that is not only accurate but also interesting to others: the status update as a literary form.

Laura Fitton, the social-media consultant, argues that her constant status updating has made her “a happier person, a calmer person” because the process of, say, describing a horrid morning at work forces her to look at it objectively. “It drags you out of your own head,” she added. In an age of awareness, perhaps the person you see most clearly is yourself.

Full article here.

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