CPsquare open house
CPsquare open house was an interesting experience: the fun of meeting new people and discovering new connections between ideas. I also couldnít avoid mental comparison with things we do at BlogWalk ;) Thanks for being open for newcomers!
Weblogs and personalities of their authors. We had an interesting discussion about weblog vs. forum/mailing list choice. One of the things that came on the way is a distinction between global and sequential thinkers, foxes and hedgehogs, generalists and specialists. First operate in "clouds" of ideas, spanning boundaries of different fields, picking out relevant bits everywhere and connecting them into a whole. Second follow the trail of their chosen field, focusing and digging deeper. (Of course, it is a continuum :)
Many webloggers say that their weblog serves as a one place to collect their ideas. It make a good sense for those thinking global, so they have a Home to bring ideas from traveling to different online spaces, many of which are strange and exotic. Keeping track of different combinations of ideas and spaces they come from can be too complicated without weblog as a base camp.
In contrast, for those who focused in their quest for knowledge, participation in different online spaces may not be a big problem: at least their line of enquiry is clear, remembering spaces from there ideas come it not that difficult.
Think of organizing a collection of travel photos from two people: one interested in things people do differently in different cultures, and another, who travels across the globe in search for best waterfall shoot.
Weblog introduction. Weblog practices differ in different weblog neighborhoods, so to a great extend a newcomer experiences of blogging are shaped by bloggers around. One gets exposed to practices of using different tools, to different writing styles and to social norms in a community and is likely to pick up some of those. If someone starts with an idea that weblogs are easy webpublishing tools and do not upon a weblog neighborhood with different practices, he may never discover the fun of social connections arising from weblogs.
Of course, Iím still thinking about the city metaphor for blogging. Just imagine what you will think of Amsterdam if you walk into the red light district after arriving and get hooked into it, never discovering museum quarter or business areas?
An illusion of shared experiences of in online communities. We think of a online community as a whole and talk about shared experiences, but at the end each member sits in front of a computer and experiences something totally different from others. Whose experiences are rarely shared (unless members get involved into a reflection on it; Iím thinking of meta-blogging posts that sometimes reveal how differently people embed blogging into their daily routines). See also: Nancy White about it.
Distinction between a (social) network and a community. We tried to draw the line between those two, but didnít get very far (at least I donít have a convincing distinction for myself :). The criteria suggested for a community during the discussion: leadership, ownership, shared practices, greater accountability, shared purpose, many-to-many relations (vs. a system of one-to-one relations).
We also talked about differences in constructing someoneís identity, accommodating different cultures (national, professional, early adopters vs. majority), the core and the fringe of a community in context of welcoming newcomers and many other topicsÖ They landed somewhere in my thinking cloud, somewhere in those areas that are not ready for words yet :)
Quite a few people from the group are presenting at Virtual Communities conference today and tomorrow, so I joined them for dinner in The Hague as I had to stay overnight as well to get a Swiss visa. Nancy White, John Smith and Alasdair Honeyman are presenting on improvisation and design in communities, so yesterday evening was pretty much in Improv style: getting Indonesian food from nearest gas station and eating it in front of five star conference hotel followed by rehearsal of their presentation. That was a lot of fun, so I do not really feel that bad typing this in a café while waiting for my visa, instead of being at the conference :)
See also: notes and pictures by Ton Zijlstra, summary by Erik van Bekkum, notes by Nancy White