Continuous Computing: all social, all the time

John Brockman, who publishes the well-known Edge newsletter, has an interesting prediction for social software as it goes mobile. “WE WILL SEE migration of social applications as user-generated content moves to the WiFi environment. YouTube, MySpace and multi-user games will be available on hand-held devices, wherever you go. People will carry their digital assets much […]

John Brockman, who publishes the well-known Edge newsletter, has an interesting prediction for social software as it goes mobile.

“WE WILL SEE migration of social applications as user-generated content moves to the WiFi environment. YouTube, MySpace and multi-user games will be available on hand-held devices, wherever you go. People will carry their digital assets much like their bacteria. Israeli tech guru Yossi Vardi calls it “continuous computing.”

I like that term: “continuous computing”. It’s catchy, and it suggests that computing is becoming a commonplace part of our lives. However, what we’re really doing isn’t “computing”, but simply socializing. We happen to be using computers to help us. That may sound like a small distinction, but I think it’s important to realize that although we’re using computers, they’re only enabling us to do more social things. We’re not being social because of computers…we’re wired to be social anyway.

It’s terms like this that put the technology above the activity, but we have to remember that the activity is spawning the technology in most cases. We can’t draw that line explicitly, however, as technology, as an enabler, makes new kinds of social interactions possible. Howard Rheingold’s smart mobs, for example, were enabled by mobile phones and other always-on technology.

Published: January 5th, 2007

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