Status Updates: the corner stone of the ambient communication model

Tune in-to or out-of information. As technology becomes transparent, information becomes ubiquitous and connections grow exponentially, we are more and more immersed in an information scape. Rather than receiving or seeking information we inhabit information bubbles made of the sounds generated by our connections. Which also means, that we communicate more and more exactly like swarms do.

I’ve been involved recently with research about status updates with the folks @Social Media Lab so I was pretty interested in the video in itself. But what made it even more interesting is that it frames status updates into the broader contest of the history of communication, showing how the use of status updates to communicate and keep up with friends is the corner stone of a new way of engaging with mediated communication, the ambient model of communication.

And in this respect status updates also represent the missing link between personal media and immersive media.

Status updates explained from quub.com on Vimeo.

To accommodate the surge of social information a new communication model has emerged based on status updates. Traditionally, if you want to know what a friend is doing, you have to actively ask him. And he would reply reactively. This works fine until your social network grows larger and larger and larger and the process of contacting each person individually requires too much time and effort. In the ambient model all your contacts are constantly broadcasting information they think their social network might be interested in. So if you want to know what your friends are up to you simply tun in to or tune out of their updates. You hear only what you want to hear. Everyone else’s broadcasts are just ambient noise until you decide to tune in.

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