Over at Adam’s he forced me to think a bit more about my concern that blogs, forums, and wikis all fall short of the ideal environment for information exchange / communication / enlightenment. He basically asked what was needed to create a better environment and I answered:
I don’t have a good solution in mind but it seems to me the analog offline is something like a party or informal conference space (e.g. the Meet the Engineers session at Google Dance though it ended too early for me to introduce myself to … you!).
In that environment there are “conversation leaders” who are the center of attention and gather people interested in a specific topic, but you can also break off to talk with somebody you just met there. Blogs seem to suffer from too much focus on the blog author and forums from too much focus on worthless or off topic comments. Wikis …. just don’t usually work well due to lack of participation.
I have a feeling the “solution” may come from virtual spaces like SL or game environments which can leverage available technology (e.g. web search, messaging, threaded conversations) with the social component we all seek as primates.
…..hmmmm … I’m also thinking that the dialogs at Myspace, though often painfully superficial or bizarre, are more “real” and interactive than many in the tech or political blog space. There, the comments have a higher profile than in conventional blogs and incline users to bounce from one member to another based on the comment streams.
Glad to have more people thinking about this!
And another related question to tackle:
Are most blog communities created intentionally (“I’m going to make a strong blog community!”) or are they stumbled upon / created by happy accident, like many successful art projects (music, movies, etc., that weren’t designed to become cult hits).
Adam I think you struck a chord with this question over at your blog, perhaps because bloggers struggle with the justification of the time and thought when they have few in the community.
I’m skeptical that online community can evolve in a planned way under any circumstances, but I also think (rationalize?) that community is NOT a good measure of blog quality, success, or worthiness. I do think it’s a great measure of commercial viability though. If community trumps all else then Myspace.com is the ‘best’ stuff out there, and that’s a scary thought.
The “solution” is to recognize that the “random ejaculations” of Paul Zachary Myers and his ally across the pond Richard “blind, watchmaking mountaineer” Dawkins have contributed absolutely nothing to the understanding of the great mysteries of ontogeny and phylogeny. These two clowns have become the laughing stock of evolutionary science. For a rational view I recommend –
“A past evoltion is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”