The Importance of Situational Awareness

In chapter 10 of Hermida’s, “Tell Everyone,” he talks about how a German WW1 pilot was so successful, since he was the first person to realize the importance of situational awareness when it comes to dogfights. Hermida applied this same thinking to the situational awareness we need to have when it comes to social media. We need to constantly find our bearings, know what is important and what is not, and act accordingly. I think this is a great way of thinking about it, and I can relate Hermida’s point to the current day as well.


I am an avid gamer. I always have been, and probably always will. One of my favorite games right now is Overwatch. It is a hyper-competitive, 6v6 objective-based game. Players can choose from 24 (soon to be 25) radically different characters, all with different abilities, play-styles, and uses. Being able to aim well and use your abilities effectively allows your competitive skill ranking to be pretty good (2000-3000 SR). But if you have good situational awareness, you skill ranking can go up 1000+. This is a game where situational awareness is ridiculously important. Just like Hermida says about the dogfights of WW1, in Overwatch you need to make split-second decisions and always know where everyone is. Is someone flanking us? Where are all my teammates? Do they have their abilities? Are they injured? Where are the enemies? Do they have their abilities? Are any enemies by themselves, easy to kill? Whose footsteps do I hear? You have to keep all of these things in mind all the time when playing, and this skill is what separates a good player from a great player.

Situational awareness is also important in the world we live in today. When you are bombarded with a constant feed of information, you need to find out what is important or what pertains to you just by a quick glance. Long gone are the days of reading all the way through a newspaper. People want their information that they think is important, fast, and that’s it. We have developed such a keen sense of situational (informational) awareness because of the technology boom, and it is especially noticeable on social media.