Ambient Intimacy, Modern Narcissism, or Something In Between?

This article was originally posted on September 28, 2008.

A blog post by my boss, about his thinking on social media, triggered some thinking from me about the same recent New York Times article by Clive Thompson that he references.

When I tell people that I spend time on Twitter (@mikegil), their first response is typically, “Why would you constantly want to tell the whole Internet/world what you’re doing? Who cares?”

It’s a good point. Each 140-character “Tweet” is such a small, narrow snippet of information that it’s often all but meaningless on its own. But, like dots in a work of pointillism, when looked at amid many others over a period of time, a richer and more complex picture emerges: a thread of activities, themes, and thoughts over a period of time. When I see in person people I follow on Twitter, our re-orientation to one another is much shorter, and we seem to pick up conversations in progress that originated on-line. Secondarily, I am building a nascent, loose social network of people as a resource to which I can direct questions or seek advice.

I would encourage anyone considering a dive into social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to read Thompson’s article in order to set their own expectations about what to expect for the effort.

Originally published at https://mikegil.typepad.com.