The Rise and Rise of Presence Applications

October 20, 2007 by  

Whether you call it micro-blogging, mini-blogging or a presence application (PA), one thing is for certain it is changing the way we connect and interact. PA’s like Twitter and Jaiku (to name a few) have extremely simple interfaces, are easy to comprehend and are highly addictive. Although PA’s are not new it seems that they are gaining traction because they offer an advantage over traditional digital expression technologies, the ability to interact via the interface of choice, be it a browser, IM, plugin, custom app or mobile phone. But I believe that mobile blogging can be attributed to the fast take-up and continuity of use that PA’s are currently experiencing. So how is this technology changing the way we connect and interact?

Photo Copyright © Donncha O Caoimh – go to blog / flickr

Like all great concepts it all comes down to bringing two very simple concepts together. PA’s ‘bridge the gap’ between platforms and allow you to ‘subscribe’ to a information source (be it a person or company).

Lets look at both points individually.

Bridge The Gap:
Traditional PA systems only allowed a connection between the same platform, like SMSmobile to SMSmobile, newmedia PA’s allow people or companies to interact via many different platforms. This means that when someone sends a PA message from their computer that people (depending on their preferences) can read that message on their mobile, IM, Browser or Custom App.

The two cornerstone’s of the newmedia phenomenon are subscription and collaboration. Anytime someone takes a traditional media and attaches subscription functionality to it, they have developed a popularity winner. And so it is with services like Twitter, Jaiku and Pownce. Subscriptions to PA’s is known as “Permission Based Stalking“, those creating the PA feeds are allowing their subscribers to ‘watch’ their personal commentary on their lives and interaction to other PA friends.

But are PA’s just a platform for personal use? No. Lets have a look how some companies and organisations are using Twitter for more efficient communications.

The LA Fire Department is using twitter (link to their twitter feed) to give an ongoing commentary on emergencies and situations they are dealing with. Anybody can plug in to learn more about a current emergency situation.

ABC (Australia) Radio National show is giving updates (link to their twitter feed) on programs for their Australia wide radio program.

1-Day is an Australian website (link to their twitter feed) that provides 3 amazing deals every day for 24 hours.

Sky News (USA) is sending the latest news via twitter (link to their twitter feed).

I am using twitter to keep my students studying Visual Communications and Multimedia degrees updated with the latest subject news.

So back to the original question of “So how is this technology changing the way we connect and interact?”

It all comes down to one simple word, ‘presence’! PA’s are allowing people to have a presence in peoples lives that matter to us. It also allows us via subscription to allow others (maybe mentors, celebrities etc) to have a presence in our lives by following their feeds. This can only be a positive thing as having a presence allows us to work on the other foundation of newmedia, it allows us to ‘collaborate’ in a more powerfully effective way, by allowing us to connect quicker and more efficiently.

There have been some detractors of PA’s saying that it is only a passing fad and the next newmedia ‘thing’ will kill it. But I don’t think so!

If you have not tried it – do it today.

Here are some links for you. TwitterJaikuPownce


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