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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: On Continuous Ambient Awareness, and Filters
Not so long ago I discussed Twitter and, in a nutshell, I wasn't impressed.  The problem I describe then was that Twitter requires a new view-hole to watch what's going on.  I have to have an auto-refreshing webpage, or a browser widget, or a standalone app...  And that's not really useful to me.

So I guess It's not so much that Twitter's a poor tool, but that there are no solid viewholes with which I can integrate it into my online life.

I do like what it offers: an enhancement to my already extant ambient awareness.  I like to be connected, I like to know what people are up to.  The twitter people I follow are genuinely interesting people who are offering up valuable 'tweets' more often than not. 

So it seems that Twitter's value changes based on who you're listening to.  Boring people are boring no matter what service they use.

Which brings me to my final thought:

If you're not actively involved in the conversation you need a filter to bring you the important stuff.  Offer to me a summary, a short version I can skim, whereupon I can decide to delve deeper and read more, or become involved. 

Where are our filters? Our friends often have better things to do, as do we, but they often bring to our attention the important things we may have missed.  I rely on bloggers (here's their collated output, via friendfeed) as my filters, people with a proven ability to raise and parse the good stuff above the chaff. Constant awareness is draining, but when you're constantly aware of interesting things, it becomes easier to attach value to the effort. 

You do it because it pays off.

So all these tools that let me stay in touch are valuable, as long as I can use them to stay abreast of interesting things.  I guess it makes sense when you boil it down: boring things are boring, and if something's hard to use, you probably won't.
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