Ambient awareness: how Facebook, Twitter and other social web apps are re-wiring our social lives

Digital Intimacy illustration by Peter Cho

When I describe Watwet to friends and acquaintances they often are puzzled or dismissive. Why would anyone be interested in receiving mundane updates on their mobile from a wide circle of friends? What’s the point.
Well, it’s this and other questions about the new tools of social networking that are being address in an excellent New York Times article: Brave New World of Digital Intimacy. Also note the article’s amazing illustration by Peter Cho.

These tools are not just silly things used by tee agers, as many 30-somethings and 40-somethings assume. Perhaps it is the human answer to the the de-socialized realities brought about by the 20th century. Are we experiencing the rise of a neo-intimacy that brings back the social awareness of village life?

One of the most amazing statements the article makes is about cyberspace and identity. At the dawn of the internet age, it was common to say that on the net no one knew that you’re a dog. With the proliferation of cameraphones, Facebook and other technologies, this statement has been turned upside down: on the net EVERYONE knows you’re a dog!

Check it out

Read these related posts on 360east:

3 Responses to “Ambient awareness: how Facebook, Twitter and other social web apps are re-wiring our social lives”

  1. Yazan Says:

    So is watwet another version of twitter?
    Are the same people behind both projects? Because the website layout is ridiculously similar.

    I’ll check the article now, but thought I might ask this question before I forget.

  2. Humeid Says:

    Watwet was inspired by Twitter and other microblogging mobile social networking services. But there are many difference which I wrote about before on this blog. Watwet also has a different business model and works in close cooperation with mobile operators (the first of which are Zain).

    Many of the mobile microblogging apps out there are very similarly. What I know, however, is that the Watwet team are hard at work on some “visual surprises” to be unveiled soon :-)

  3. Rami Taibah Says:

    Yes that article was amazing! Clive Thompson is just one great writer.

    I am not totally convinced with watwet tbh. Don’t get me wrong, I love microblogging and twitter, I get nervous when I get Twitter’s fail whale. But I have mainly three concerns:

    1-Why would one leave twitter for a more localized/arabized version? Many other microblogging services tried to lure away users from twitter with not much success. Remember the Plurk surge in July? Everybody was Plurking like crazy, and it was addictive tbh, but at the end everybody went back to Twitter.

    2-Arab’s in general are very slow adopters, and they still don’t get the whole “Web 2.0” craze. In addition I believe that we are more of consumers than producers. Wanna bet that that the “arab” or “islam” entries in Wikipedia are more comprehensive in English? I believe you know what I am getting at.

    3- The few hunderds or thousands of Arabs on twitter, would Watwet lure them away from a platform embraced by the whole world? It’s almost like claming up! Or shutting the door in the face of the Internet. Plus does watwet have the huge arsenal of apps? Summize, tweetburner, twhirl, tweetdeck just from the top of my head.

    Now that’s that, Sorry for sounding too defeatist or pessimistic, but I am just venting. I feel that Arabs in general are misusing the Internet. unlike the few (like you) who really understand the power of the Internet and elevate themselves from using it solely as a tool for “partner seeking”. If you know what I mean ;)

    Now where is the rss feed for this comment thread :P ?

Leave a Reply