Contextual information in social media

AOL is introducing a location plug-in called Skyhook for their instant messaging platform AIM so people can  see where their buddies are:

“”As we build these platforms for people to connect, we find that context is very important,” said Marcien Jenckes, who heads the AIM business. Jenckes said that when deciding whether to contact someone via phone, e-mail or IM, “people think through what’s the right mechanism. It might depend on how much time I have to talk or how involved I want to be in the conversation or what I’m doing. Proximity or location is another one of those factors that will play an increasing role.”

I really believe in communicating contextual information such as presence, mood, activities and location to the outside world via these kind of social media to improve communication between people. I use it all the time through personal messages in my IM clients, my widget on the right-hand side of this blog and through Plazes.

Which leads me to the thought that the same Plazes – funded by business angels such as Esther Dyson, Marc Andreessen and Martin Varsavsky – might be an interesting take-over for AOL if they want a head start by acquiring a database of IP-addresses that are already mapped.



  1. This inclusion of real-world parameters such as location into social networking looks nice. Who knows, maybe we’ll get to see more cross-fertilization between Web 2.0 and the old forms of socializing: meeting up in a cafe for instance. If everyone was on Plazes, you could just shout to a bunch of people in your vicinity “Hey, who wants to go to Denny’s tonight? Meet you there in 10 minutes.”

    Have you checked out Fon yet Ronald? Maybe if there was an incentive like that for lots of people to make their wi-fi access point accessible/known, this kind of social contextualisation could take off big time.

  2. Right now this location data is really static (IM status messages) and location specific (fixed IP-connections). It would become really interesting with continuous connected mobile phones…

    And still have to check out FON – tnx for the reminder. Will do.

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