The Socialization of the Web

The cover article of the August issue of Technology Review is a great overview of current and emerging technologies for social interaction on the web.

The writer calls this "continuous computing" which allows people living in populated areas of developed countries to "spend entire days inside a kind of invisible, portable ‘information field’".

This field is created by constant, largely automated cooperation between:

1. The digital devices people carry, such as laptops, media players, and camera phones

2. The wireline and wireless networks that serve people’s locations as they travel about, and

3. The Internet and its growing collection of Web-based tools for finding information and communicating and collaborating with other people.

One unique feature to the article is the way it was written. The author posted a draft of the text to his blog and includes comments from his readers in the final version. I wonder if Time or Newsweek would have the guts to try that.

The author calls all of this "continuous computing" but that’s a lousy term. The computer part of the equation is not the point. It’s more like continuous communication.

Finally, I love a phrase the author uses: "continuous partial attention". It’s defined as "the state of mental blurriness thought to be induced when information is constantly pouring in from multiple sources".

Now I have a name for my condition. :-)

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