COP's Communities of Practice | Conversational Blogging | Social Networks | Social Software

Unbound Spiral: The "Online" Distinction

January 21, 2004 10:45 PM

I'm participating in the current Muckabout. It's going to be a wonderful face to face meeting in early February. Right now the online ramp-up has begun and registration captured wonderful people and kicked off a set great questions there.

This is a question that just grabbed me tonight.

"is there a disruptive innovation in "collaborative work/learning/action" in process yet or are we still warming up?"

Just made me want to ask. Are "online communities" a relevant distinction in the world going forward?

Online (to me) now means that it is separate from my buddy list, apart from my social networking services, unlikely to connect in real-time and / or involve a voice conversation and for the most part we can forget the flip charts. It often means large lists of brilliant contributions to run though and contributions made in the environment are semi-lost to my personal search engine when my memory fails. It's also a separate destination I must go to.

By contrast my "always on" buddy lists with their "presence" connect in much more interesting ways. My blog and trackbacks potentially link to others and my newsreader can aggregate all this stuff!

Is it the tools, is it the time, or is it just me? One thing is certain my online community participation has gone down since I began blogging.


The above is pretty much as I posted it in the Muckabout forum. I'm adding this little postscript here as it tells an additional story.

I shared my post with an online buddy, there was no-chat active in the forum. Just wanted to test my thought and check clarity. In a live facilitated session it would be the equivalent of a mini-paired discussion before sharing to the group. In closed online conferences where you don't know everyone you learn caution. I'm intrigued by the fact that as I write this and post --- the more "open" blog world lets me post with less reservation. That's probably because they are in the context of all my posts, rather than an initial or early post on a forum. Here I actually know some of my readers.

Finally, I'm not being more explicit about the Muckabout right now as "blogging" it has never been discussed and I sense it is "community" work product. Thus I share my little piece.