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Ambient awareness is great on Twitter, but not so good in paradise

Ambient awareness is great on Twitter, but not so good in paradise

Some time back I had a visit from the then managing director of Seychelles Breweries.

He was an ex-pat Scot looking to return to Edinburgh.

Now I myself relocated from London to Edinburgh for a better quality of life but, as you can appreciate, his motivation for a move wasn’t so immediately obvious to me.

It turns out that he and his family were feeling a bit overwhelmed by the oppressive hyper-localness of island life.

Everyone was very friendly, but with that friendliness came the disconcerting knowledge that everyone knew everything that you and yours were up to all the time.

“I see you had a picnic on the beach yesterday”.

“I heard you went for a bicycle ride with your daughter at the weekend.”

“Your wife was wearing a lovely dress yesterday.”

In fact it sounded a bit like the worst kind of daily trivia Twitter updates, but in reverse.

Rather than you issuing a banal stream of trivial tweets telling the world what you’d had for breakfast, the world was telling you what you’d done instead.

That kind of ambient awareness is one of the nice things about Twitter. It fills in the gaps between actually meeting up with people.

But there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to ambient awareness that you can’t control on an otherwise paradise island with an otherwise dream job.

Be careful what you wish for.

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