Ev On “Ambient Awareness” and Other Matters

Fast Company interviewed Evan Williams, a.k.a. “Ev” about Twitter.
Here are a few highlights:

Q. Am I admitting my age if I ask why anyone would want to be that connected?
A. I don’t think it has anything to do with age. That’s the most common response from everybody: Why would I want to use that? Once they start using it, they kind of get into it. It’s something you have to experience.
It’s fun and sometimes useful to have a mechanism to send and receive these status updates. If you hear from someone — even something as mundane as eating a sandwich at this restaurant — then you get a picture of this person you’re interested in and what they’re doing at that moment in contrast to what you’re doing. It’s interesting in itself because of the real time factor. You get what some people call ambient awareness.
Q. Why did you call your company Obvious?
A. The best ideas are always those that are obvious in retrospect. It’s not about being clever, it’s having the breakthrough to see the obvious thing that wasn’t obvious to everybody. We want all our products to be very obvious. In the case of Twitter, it’s not quite obvious why to use it, but eventually it will be.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. interesting! i have found twitter addictive and couldn’t figure out why!