Social Context Original Text

This was the original test from the now revised “Why Our Software Needs Social Context

An Idea for Filtering and Signaling Social Context

Imagine your phone had a simple slider bar that allowed you to filter your incoming stream of information in real time.

  • Slide the control up to the top to maximum “relationship-mode,” and you get the full spectrum of social chatter going on around you. It’s like a Twitter stream but with just the people near you at the time.
  • Slide it down to the middle, and your stream of information is restricted just to people you know who also happen to be near you in that location – a friend finder.
  • Slide it down to the bottom, and you filter out all social content so that the information you’re getting is restricted to more mainstream news and information sources, and most likely geared toward supporting whatever particular task you’re doing at the time.

By setting the slider in one position or another, you’re more than just filtering information though; you’re also broadcasting your social context to others so they can be more socially intelligent in how they choose to connect with you at any particular point in time. When your slider is set to the top, they can feel free to stop by and say “hi” even if you don’t know you (there will obviously need to be some safety features available to you when you select this mode). At the bottom, you’re wearing the online equivalent of a “do not disturb” sign.