Tuesday, March 18, 2008

FriendFeed, Knowledge Networking, and Ambient Intimacy

Last night, FriendFeed announced support for search. Much of the talk in the blogosphere has highlighted the notion that now you can search Twitter tweets via FriendFeed. I feel that FriendFeed’s search capabilities has far broader implications.

I have done several posts on a concept I call “knowledge networking”. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts…
I define knowledge networking as the ability for people to connect with the purpose of leveraging each other's knowledge. This is different than social networking where people connect with the purpose of communicating with each other.
Recently, I have started to use Twitter and have become a fan of the service. The reason I like it is best summed up by a post made early last year by Leisa Reichelt called, “Ambient Intimacy”. Leisa defines “ambient intimacy” as…
…being able to keep in touch with people with a level of regularity and intimacy that you wouldn’t usually have access to, because time and space conspire to make it impossible. Flickr lets me see what friends are eating for lunch, how they’ve redecorated their bedroom, their latest haircut. Twitter tells me when they’re hungry, what technology is currently frustrating them, who they’re having drinks with tonight.

Who cares? Who wants this level of detail? Isn’t this all just annoying noise? There are certainly many people who think this, but they tend to be not so noisy themselves. It seems to me that there are lots of people for who being social is very much a ‘real life’ activity and technology is about getting stuff done.

There are a lot of us, though, who find great value in this ongoing noise. It helps us get to know people who would otherwise be just acquaintances. It makes us feel closer to people we care for but in whose lives we’re not able to participate as closely as we’d like.

Knowing these details creates intimacy. (It also saves a lot of time when you finally do get to catchup with these people in real life!) It’s not so much about meaning, it’s just about being in touch.

I have been thinking there is a connection between “knowledge networking” and “ambient intimacy”. One of the ways you can learn about the knowledge of your friends/contacts is through Twitter tweets made by them. FriendFeed’s search capability now makes this connection very real.


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Charlie said...

This is awesome!