December 22, 2006

GoJuice: Ken Camp Jams on Alec Saunders New Presence

I enjoyed reading Ken Camp's thoughtful take on Alec Saunders' post about the "New Presence."

In his post, Alec ponders important points on the intersection of mobility and presence, reflecting on who we are becoming around what mobile devices, who we are when we are here and there (or no place in particular) with attached devices that connect us to other devices, systems and humans, when we want them to and when we don't, and all of that stuff.

"The intersection of presence and mobility is where the subtle politesse of telephone etiquette breaks.   Today’s presence metaphor, tied as it is to the device, is fundamentally broken in a mobile context.  What does it mean to be present when mobile?  My phone is on, and it’s not in use.  Am I available?  Maybe, and maybe not.  Where am I? Is the topic of the call suitable for discussion in a public place?  How about on an airline?"

As we bounce around social networks, collaborative spaces, and various message platforms online, we simultaneously bound across geographies, roles, and tasks offline; we have become mobile-squared, more dispersed and dis-integrated as our legacy systems once were. How the telecommunications industry and innovators deal with the scattered us is for experts like these folks.

What interests me is the future of online communication platforms that can keep me "whole" and allow me to dissociate identity-wise as I traverse the net, the same way that wireless networks and devices can keep me connected as I move about in the physical world today.

Part of the reason I've been posting less here, beyond the tugs and turbulents of family responsibilities, is that I've been writing and posting more within other roles I'm exploring in what I (sort of) joke is my "Third Life" experience. This is living across online social spaces through connected stories and dramas in tandem with others doing the same -- for example with Kat and Jeremy of Kat Herding Media (KHM), and their most recent practice of Clientology(TM).

My mobility goes to the very core of who I am, and then some. I want to play with who I am in the in-between spaces online and off. My identity is mobile. Nothing human is fixed; only devices on hips are.

Ken Camp is grappling with these concepts and more when he considers how we should parse the ideas of presence and mobility, deciding that we should call it nothing or at least call it something completely different... the Absence of Presence, as he describes here:

The problem isn't with the concept. The concept is sound. The problem is with the words. I suggest we abandon them all and start fresh. There's no benefit in continuing on a path that hasn't been thoroughly evangelized, isn't filled with latent demand to fuel a revenue stream, and has an 800 pound gorilla obfuscating the situation.

"I'm sort of inside the industry, and I definitely want to get my mojo on with presence, availability, relevance and context philosophically.  But I wouldn't take a job as a marketing manager promoting it. And I sure wouldn't take a job as a sales manager making quota from it. It's not an enterprise initiative, and not likely to be one any time soon.

"Call it mojo. Call it karma. Call it my Web 2.0 Aura if you like. My fear is that until a spin doctor steps in a really steps it up a notch, we'll continue to flail around the absence of presence."

I don't have enough depth to have an opinion on what to call the ideas these folks are knocking around, but I think you should take some time to read Alec and Ken, and see if they don't help get your GoJuice on.

Now I have some new presents to wrap. ;-)

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