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Leisa Rechelt posts about her talk on “Ambient Intimacy” at Reboot, and includes her slide show (which is almost all graphics and snippets…and looks terrific).

Ambient Intimacy is a term to describe that sense of connectedness that you get from participating in social tools online that allow you to feel as though you are maintaining and, perhaps in fact, increasing your closeness with people in your social network through the messages and content that you share online – be it photographs or text or information about upcoming travel.

There are lots of other terms that people have used to describe this kind of connected experience including Situational Awareness, Hyper-Connectivity, Hive Mind, Social Presence, Distributed Co-Presence etc. I still prefer Ambient Intimacy because it combined the human ‘ickyness’ of ‘intimacy’ with the distributed and non-directional nature of ‘ambiance’.

These are all ways of getting at the fundamental paradox that the Web is a crowd of unique faces, a roar of distinct voices, a choreography of Brownian motion, an intimacy of details, distributed friendship, communities of acquaintances, topic-based affection, a continuous intermittency, a plenum of parts… [Tags: ]

[June 6: Deb Schultz makes the great point that “This phrase does away with the inevitable question – how can we maintain all these ‘friendships’ and ‘communities’?- by not referring to these words at all.”]

One Response to “Ambient Intimacy”

  1. on 06 Jun 2007 at 12:28 pmxian

    i agree with Leisa on her coinage too. And “social presence” is meaningless, or at least it signifies nothing about this context.