Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ambient? ("...Technologies" ...cont)

The word ambient is rather ambient itself. All you have to do to find how ambiguous the word is is do a flickr search for it.

Ambient Technology

This oft-neglected blog might appear to be solely about ARG marketing/gaming and digital art, but this thing I've labeled as "nonlinear" since 2001 is finding a new presence thanks to Twitter,, etc. And this thing is getting a new name; I've been calling it Ambient Technology.

I do credit Twitter for getting us all talking about this. The first good description of this compelling ambient was Christopher St. John's post Trains, Twitter and MUDs:
Twitter provides a sort of continual background feeling of connectedness, even if the surface messages are often trivial...the act of reading can become unconscious. You just sort of "hear" the messages in the background instead of attending to them in the way you'd read a blog posting or even an IM.

Looking at Twitter from the outside, I can see how it seems strange to care about the minutia of other people's lives. But it's exactly the stuff you'd get if you worked in the same office with those people. The constant background hum of all sorts of information, from who's pregnant to who's on a business trip to Portland to who's broken the build...if you've made the decision to have a geographically distributed set of friends, it seems like a very practical solution.
I had already grabbed the term (textual) ambient from Matt Webb just a short while prior, but CKS put just the right amount of narrative around the concept.

{Since then, I have been a huge Twitter advocate, convincing two different clients to use it, and having almost childlike joy when finding someone-I-really-respect-but-don't-get-as-much-IRL-time-as-I'd-like-with has jumped on the tweeting bandwagon. (Never mind the almost dirty-sounding slang that has come out of Twitter culture.)}

So today this thread appears before me, thanks to boboroshi's post discussing the extant problem of multiple social sites/graphs.

{A popular subject, one a couple of local friends are working on, and one that those of us at The HopeShow experience every day with the number of sites we visit every day--and we're slacking!}

So I am introduced to Leisa Reichelt's and her excellent presentation on Ambient Intimacy at the Future of Web Apps, and her excellent post on Ambient Intimacy.

Through that I am introduced to the word phatic and the idea of phatic communication, a linguistic structure first developed by Roman Jakobson.

I also discover how much thought the people have put into the idea of ambient technologies. They use the word osmotic, which I also like.

The other term I've used is Low Threshold Technology. I use it interchangeably with Ambient Technology based on context.

This is a research blog and as such I don't have much to add to this conversation...yet.

{I have been commissioned to write articles for an unusual publication in another country, and I am going to work this stuff into those pieces and either point to them or republish them on one of my various locations on the web. I'm sure I will have more tidbits and will probably choose to post them here (I have been toying with re-centralizing my web publishing, a cycle I seem to go through twice a decade).}

In the meantime the take home is this: If you are in the business of stealing my attention (which most of us are in some form or fashion), you can do as much of that as you like, given each theft is very small. The shortening of our collective attention span is not a bad thing, simply because it is not a matter of shortening our attention span. It is a matter of freeing more of our attention for what is important and/but allowing as much of what is important through without using up too much of our attention.

(Ah yes I do have much more to say in this area. It has everything to do with media and business, which is my passion and my bread and butter. But...later.)

links tagged attention, links tagged twitter

Monday, September 17, 2007

A New(ish) ARG

...something to do with this movie, which looks pretty badaaaaasss!

...but as always I don't have the time to explore the ARG... :(

Saturday, August 11, 2007 looks like a normal Youtube knockoff at first glance. It has friendly soft blue icons with rounded edges that just scream, "let's watch dramatic chipmunks all day long." But beneath the unsuspecting veneer lies one of the greatest viral marketing campaigns to hit the internet since Al Gore invented it so long ago.

The Icetruck site is actually a webvertisment for Showtime's Dexter, about a serial killer who works as a forensic analyst to help catch murderers. If that doesn't sound cool enough, it stars Michael C. Hall from Six Feet Under. What more do you need?
TV Squad: Dexter promo to die for

Apophenia: personalized viral marketing

Monday, August 06, 2007


In the game, players control their ships, but the sharks are controlled by real-world white sharks with GPS units attached to their fins. Real-world telemetry data provides the position and movement of actual great white sharks in the game, so every shark that players encounter corresponds to a real shark in the real world.

Ships in the game move in real-time, so players receive email and/or SMS alerts during the day when their boat is within range of an encounter.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Photosynth is an amazing new technology from Microsoft Live Labs that will change forever the way you think about digital photos. More info:

via St. Vincent, of all places :)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Jonathan Harris TED talk

an interesting talk by Jonathan Harris, known from impressive information aesthetic works such as universe & love lines & feel fine & ten by ten.

lifted directly from the infosthetics post (infosthetics blog previously gushingly linked to here)

The Ultimate Search for Bourne with Google

The Ultimate Search for Bourne with Google
It's interesting to see a media giant and a technology company as partners in a viral marketing campaign that blurs the borders between advertising and real content.