Thursday, June 19, 2008

Digital Presence

What is presence, really? Is it my status line on my favorite IM client(s)? My status line in Facebook, or maybe in Twitter? Maybe my real presence is not even digital - it's where I am, what I feel, what I plan.. is presence actually me, in real time, or is it like we usually call it - near real time, which basically mean that a few tens of minutes later are the same as true real time?

Wikipedia poorly defines presence as "current communication status" (here), but in way better itself under the definition of telepresence:

Lombard and Ditton (1997) went a step further and enumerated six conceptualizations of presence. First, they wrote, presence can be sense of social richness, the feeling one gets from social interaction. Second, presence can be a sense of realism, such as computer-generated environments looking, feeling, or otherwise seeming real. Third, presence can be a sense of transportation. This is a more complex concept than the traditional feeling of one being there. Transportation also includes users feeling as though something is “here” with them or feeling as though they are sharing common space with another person together. The fourth concept is that presence can be a sense of immersion, either through the senses or through the mind. Fifth, presence can provide users with the sense they are social actors within the medium. No longer passive viewers, users, via presence, are given a sense of interactivity and control. The sixth and final concept is that presence can be a sense of the medium as a social actor.

And if we could define Presence, will it tell us where it's going? Is digital presence slowly copying the real world presence, and slowly catching up, or is it defining a whole new thing? Will the end result be some kind of combination of historical presence coming together with digital presence? Is the field and how we view it constantly changing?

And lets not forget - how does it really work? What are the underlying protocols the make our presence work? What is the difference between them, and why use one or the other? What services are out there that help us achieve presence, who makes them and how..

This blog comes to discuss all of these subjects and more. I've decided to do this one in English and not Hebrew (unlike my other blogs) in order to possibly increase the crowd that can read and reply. Welcome!

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