07 September 2008

ambient awareness

One of the most beautiful spreads I have seen in awhile, with illustrations by Peter Cho and a corresponding article that made me feel like a total friendless loser for refusing to get a Facebook account: "Social scientists have a name for this sort of incessant 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..."
"In 1998, the anthropologist Robin Dunbar argued that each human has a hard-wired upper limit on the number of people he or she can personally know at one time...psychological studies have confirmed that human groupings naturally tail off at around 150 people: the 'Dunbar number,' as it is known. Are people who use Facebook and Twitter increasing their Dunbar number, because they can so easily keep track of so many more people?"

If I had a Facebook, would I be less shy? Are we losing our appreciation for the simple joy of conversation? Face to face with another human, over steaming cups of tea? I feel guilty for being too busy to enjoy moments such as these...

1 comment:

Bryan I. said...

That spread is magical. And perhaps the growing use of internet networking sites could be seen as a tool to give more opportunity for those small things in life by helping people stay connected.