by Josh Kimball
On Sunday, we landed at LAX for Iconoculture’s annual client event. Immediately upon arriving in the city, one can sense a distinctive rhythm. It’s not something quantifiable, and it’s only partially describable. Los Angeles’ tempo is its own; for me, it’s a comforting burble. The air tastes like exhaust and jasmine. And the city itself seems to have some kind of unashamed comfort in stretching on forever.
People frequently talk about Twitter as a platform that enables something called peripheral awareness. It’s a tool that can offer what feels like ambient intimacy — the sense of a place or a person — without having to be there.
Through social media, you can follow people congregating in a city, watching the same baseball game or reminiscing about the same person. You can gather shards of information around events happening right now by picking through Facebook statuses or aggregating Foursquare stats.
And while that information — about your brand, your event, yourself — presents itself as a kind of ambient intimacy to those who see it, it’s difficult for anyone to get real insights about people and their motivations based solely on this new layer of the informational onion. That particular magic happens in the synesthetic soup combining that emerging data layer with real sights, real smells, experience, memory. 90% of life is still showing up; that hasn’t changed. But what “showing up” means isn’t the same anymore.