Twitter, Facebook’s status updates and newsfeeds, Tumblr, and a variety of other sites are creating a soft, ambient haze of social activity akin to leaving the television on in the background.

Though sometimes pithy, pointless or irreverent, these updates and short dispatches fill in the gaps about what you know about your friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. In fact, you get to know them in a different way. This, combined with the voyeuristic effect of it all, has undoubtedly created a new social dynamic. How will people’s “passive activity” be turned into valuable data? Who’s doing it?

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