Almost a decade ago, there was a florescence of ambient awareness. Because the web was small, we used websites to share our activity in a way that would be overwhelming now... but back then, provided social peripheral vision, creating a sense of togetherness, no matter where we were.
Some of the tools I used:
4!!!then see who messaged me to say
4 what?At which point I'd update my away message:
My own take on this was Glancing -- eye-contact for small groups, only online. I reached prototype, and I've tried to build it again since. But never managed to get it quite right.
All the weird side-effects that happened! Having to turn your scrobbles off when you're playing an embarrassing track... or not: You gotta embrace your inner midget.
Complex, lively, the hurly burly stuff of life.
There are a couple of services which have evolved.
Facebook does a bunch of these things, but not well. One big room with terrible acoustics.
Hey Facebook's new campus has the largest open plan office in the world. NO SHIT.
Can I say something? Email used to be different.
You’d spend hours crafting florid, multi-paragraph epics, full of emotion, humour, and anecdote. Imagine giving that much of a shit about an email today.
The web is busy now. No bad thing. But much too busy to have a single place to gather my friends around photos, another around status updates, etc. I used to have one community online, and now I've got a hundred. And while I can shard them by app (business on LinkedIn, family on Facebook, my global village on Twitter), it's a lot of effort to maintain that. And it doesn't make any sense.
There's a space where articles written or edited by members automatically show up. I like that.
I caught myself thinking: It'd be nice to have Last.FM here too, and Dopplr. Nothing that requires much effort. Let's also pull in Instagram. Automatic stuff so I can see what people are doing, and people can see what I'm doing. Just for this group. Back to those original intentions. Ambient awareness, togetherness.
Nobody says very much. Sometimes there's a flurry of chat.
It's small, human-scale. Maybe it's time to bring all these ambient awareness tools back, shared inside Slack instances this time.
You know what, it's cosy. I've been missing this. A neighbourhood.