Ambient awareness is a term used to describe the awareness of friends and acquaintances that exists as a result of social media. It works similarly to being near somebody in real life where it is possible to pick up on their mood via small noises, body language and movements. In the current digital age ambient awareness is created by feeds that exist on social media and micro blogging type websites. For this reason it is a new phenomenon that only exists in the presence of social media and similar internet technologies, where the same awareness of a person you are near can be obtained by seeing regular status updates.
From a Marketing Point of View
Web marketers have long been aware of this concept and have used this to increase awareness of their products. Twitter has been especially a breeding ground for awareness accounts, with an estimated 15% of Twitter accounts existing for this reason.
With many users engaging social media via cellphones and portable Post PC devices, the idea of ambient awareness is more valid than ever. It is said that carrying mobile phones, and using SMS technology is what has created the framework for social media to succeed.
The Biggest Ambient Marketing Users
Perhaps the businesses that most use ambient marketing methods via social media to promote awareness are those in the entertainment industry. Almost immediately since their inception, Hollywood publicists have urged their clients to have an active presence on Facebook, Twitter and the like. An example of a star who has used social media extensively for some time is Charlie Sheen. While previously famous as an actor, he was almost certainly never mentioned until more details of his life and voice became very public thanks to social media.
Politicians have also recognized the value of social media, and the ability to friend a would-be president or prime minister on Facebook has been seen as an asset to gaining more votes.
More recently, all types of businesses have become engaged in social media in an attempt to gain the holy grail of marketing in the digital age, the ambient awareness of a product or business that a person might have of their friends.
How will this trend in the future?
There is obviously no good way of accurately predicting the interaction of technology and culture in 20 years, let alone in 10 years. There is a lot of good indication that ambient awareness will continue to grow in the social spheres we live in. This means there will be more marketing efforts via these spaces.
What was originally criticized as flows of meaningless information has now become one of the most powerful marketing forces there is. Perhaps this is no surprise since its predecessor; the television was also accused of being the same thing.