Thursday, April 28, 2005
Flickr Social Network Analysis
"The network, including only people with at least 50 mutual contacts (1211 people). Three of the clusters start to merge, but the UAE cluster remains distinct.
At this level, there are eleven individuals representing small, disconnected networks."
More info here:
The Social Capital Costs of Lurking
Dinesh, at his new URL for Organic KM (change your feeds and bookmarks) talks about the costs of lurking in communities of practice.
"I agree that allowing different levels of participation is crucial in a community. However,if people at the periphery don't drift in and out of the core periodically and if they choose to remain at the periphery-What are the social capital costs ? If organizations roll out communities with a specific intention of improving social capital(trust reciprocity shared understanding) ,would the 10/90(active/lurkers) or 20/80 ratio have serious implications? Irrespective of the 'fire' that is built at the core at any given point only 10-20% of the community is active. Will this offset the social capital costs that the community incurs ? Are the social capital dimensions of LPP like weak ties (and associated trust dimensions) more important and predictable compared to the typical social capital dimensions at the core of a community?I commented on Dinesh's blog, but wanted to also post my thoughts here.
While lurking is a norm in many online communities ,it is a key issue that executive sponsors of communities in organizations have to think about."
Dinesh, I think trying to pin ROI on communities in terms of participation alone might be a dangerous game. It is indeed those weak ties that bring value and if you "out" them, they will go away. And that actually reduces the social capital. It is like saying to an executive, how will you demonstrate the ROI in terms of social capital of your dinners, lunches and golf games. They'd NEVER want that explicit because it would breach the trust of those more intimate engagements with peers.
There has been some good thinking within the CPSquare community (a-- membership community with a fee but worth it) about how to engage lurkers. A copy of one of their papers can be found here - you must join to access the file, but it's free. Join the Online Facilitation group here. Sorry it is so complicated.
What would really interest me is learning more about how people do or don't drift in an out of the core/periphery. In distributed communities, we try and "count" this by posts or logins into online spaces. But my instinct is that there are many backchannel interactions between members that may actually make people who would be percieved as peripheral based on posting, be much more towards the core based on their non-posting interactions with others.
Does that make any sense? (I also posted this on my blog.)
Strangers and Imaginary Friends Staying at Your House
I'm still catching up on blog reading. I enjoyed Lee LeFever's post on hosting Jordan Rule at his house after hearing about Jordan from me reading Jordon's blog. This stuff is online/offline/online. It is a set of trust connections that, for the most part, makes it easier to say yes to Strangers Staying at Your House. Susan Mernit picked up on Lee's post and asked,
"For a slice of the world, loose ties become stronger with the aid of social media tools...
Is this happening for you?
If yes, how so?
If no, why not?"
It is the way I both do business and weave my social strands and networks. Two weeks ago I offered a room to someone from the Well (homebase England) who I did not know, but due to her community participation, could be virtually "vouched for." She was here for the Computers, Privacy and Freedom conference. Towards the end of the week, it turns out two other attendees had a hotel snafu and had no room on Friday day. Bring 'em over. So we shuffled futons and one became three. Well, four, because my son decided to come home from college and found his room full! But everyone adjusted.
Tonight one online friend arrives plus one other I met a a conference this week to stay for two nights before they both return to the Netherlands.
I have been the beneficiary on the other end. My online connections have helped me learn, get information, make contact and have a place to sleep all over the world. We have saved dollars on hotel rooms and had much richer stays by being in homes instead of hotel boxes. We have had many conversations over chocolate, wine, potluck meals and walks in each other's neighborhoods. My family (which I must add, has been gracious beyond the call of family obligation with my "imaginary friends") have met some very interesting people! (And I mean that in all senses of the word. There has been some eyerolling!)
It ain't imaginary!
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Dear Lumpy - I have a question
I'm puzzled. Can you help me? The closest I can get to you is Google Search: http://www.lumpyscorner.com/ and this cached page. I see you in my Technorati links, but you block me from your site. I am not the RIAA. I don't believe I'm a spammer (but I guess everything is in the eye of the beholder.) I'm guessing somehow your IP blocking identifies me as RIAA, but why? How am I identified thusly? I'm curious. You have me in your blogroll - crossed out text, but there. I'd love to know more. Can you fill me in? I am not a Geek but I can learn.
Rosie's Blog - VOICE
I'm consumed lately thinking about "voice" online. Not identity. That seems so clinical and "coded." Blogs give us a platform to use our voice in all it's nuance, clarity or fog. How much will we use on our blog? In comments on others' blogs.How much in an email? How much in a private online discussion space? What does it tell the reader about us? What does it disguise?
danah boyd and I talked a bit about this yesterday as we plotted ways to bring different voices to BlogHer in July. Then someone mentioned Rosie O'Donnel's new blog, r blog. I had to go read it because Rosie has appeared to me (my experience of her voice) as someone who is an insider as a performer and celebrity and outsider because of her embracing of things that some folks don't like. (Insiderness and outsiderness is also another fascinating thing to think about.)
Rosie brings a poetic, humanly-imperfect (that's a compliment) and vibrant voice to her blog. Defiance is the wrong word, but it feels defiant of expectations of a "star." She has a flikr feed. Dang, this blogger has
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Bill Harris: Questions about teams in a distributed world
Bill Harris has asked some good Questions about teams in a distributed world on his blog. Maybe you have some answers!
Here are some issues I see as important from a business and organization development perspective; what do you see?
The teams I've been involved in for the last, oh, 7 years inside my last company and now in my own business have almost all been distributed. I think many of the same principles still apply, but I think we need to address them more quickly.
Here are some sample issues (all solvable, I think, at least as well as f2f):
* How do you form a team quickly, because the people were assigned last week, we've got to work today, and we're finished next month?
* How do you do team and people development, when time frames are so compressed? (For some of us, the model of a 'local team' with occasional work done across geographical boundaries hasn't been around in years, so it's not obvious one can fall back to the 'matrixed team' organizational model. Often each team member is sitting in geographical isolation from everyone else.)
* How do you form a team effectively when the people will never see each other and may never engage in real-time (synchronous) interaction?
* What skills and tools do you really need to foster effective communications in this sort of environment, as compared to a f2f workplace? What are the gaps, and how can you overcome them? (For example, writing and verbal speaking skills may increase in importance, when communication that involves talk and gestures is limited.)
* How do you manage business and personal needs when some are normally sleeping when others are normally working (and vice versa)?
* What human needs go unaddressed in such a work society, and how can we help people address them in other suitable ways?"
Monday, April 25, 2005
Social Computing Symposium 2005 Tags
I'm at SCS 2005 and don't seem to be able to listen, backchannel and blog at the same time, so blog posts will come later. I don't want to miss a word.
In the mean time, you might want to watch the tags such as scs2005. So far the two highlights have been a panel of teens talking about their uses of technology and two, too-short presentations from anthropologists Genevieve Bell and Anne Kirah on cultural issues in social computing. MORE MORE MORE!
PostSecret - Showing ourselves to the world
PostSecret. Do you like to share your secrets? Do they become different when made public? What are the implications of our blogging? Are we in some ways exposing our secrets?
Where I'm From - Sharing our Identities
Linda Hartley led me to this very wonderful page. Where I'm From
"Where Are You From?
'If you don't know where you're from, you'll have a hard time saying where you're going.' Wendell Berry, among others, has voiced this idea that we need to understand our roots to know our place in the world. A poem by George Ella Lyons is called 'Where I'm From.' I first heard it read by Appalachian poet Rita Quillen. Six months later, we used it as a writing assignment in a class taught by my friend Elizabeth Hunter at the Campbell Folk School in North Carolina. The poem lends itself to imitation and makes a wonderful exercise of exploration in belonging."
I am now working on my version.
In the land of member directories, bios and yellow pages in the online interaction world, I miss the human scent, the poetry of our cadences. So this poem and the act of writing it may be something to add to my practice in bringing more human voice to online interactions.
What is your poem?
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Back from Vacation
A week almost totally offline. (Checked email from home twice due to credit card problem.) Didn't think about work much at all. Drank margaritas. Swam. Walked. Read 1.5 novels. Talked with friends. Ahhhhh.... blogless for a week and survived! (Plus I had a birthday to boot!)
Friday, April 15, 2005
Connectivity: the answer to ending ignorance and separation
I stumbled upon this site following blog links, a great Primer on Small World Networks. I especially appreciate the visuals. Fantastic!
Thursday, April 14, 2005
BlogHer and Collaboration
Elisa Camahort, one of the BlogHer organizers, posted this::
"In the wake of the BlogHer announcement, bloggers are stepping forward to sponsor those who would otherwise be unable to comeI reposted the whole thing because sometimes people ask me about this "blogging" thing, and the "community" it might support. It is a different sort of community formation than I have experienced via the support of message boards. It is fluid, hard to describe, but definitely present. It can facilitate collaboration!
Bloggers rock! Seriously have you ever seen this at a conference before?
It all started with Nancy White in this post:
"Are you a student who really wants to come and can't afford to? I'm offering 2 scholarships that I'll pay for, plus if you can't afford a hotel, I'll find a home to take you in in the San Jose area. If you have a bloggership, you can use the $99 to offset your other costs. Email me (nancyw at fullcirc dot com) with your reason and how you will bring a fresh voice to the event. I'll make a decision by May 15th.
Are you a person who can afford to support the participation of another woman? I challenge you to make that offer. Find a voice who would otherwise be unrepresented. Find a way to help her come."
Then it continued in the comments section of this post:
Lisa Stone: Nancy, I'm in. Who else will join us?
Susan Mernit: Folks, count me in--I will contribute a registration fee for someone who cannot afford it, and host someone in my house...that second bedroom..
And who know how many others will chime in. This is on top of and in addition to our Blogherships for people who will live-blog sessions.
Have you seen this kind of community coming together to make a conference be 'all that it can be' before? I haven't.
Makes me proud to be a blogger."
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Podcasting and Vodcasting: A White Paper
Missouri Podcasting White Paper.pdf (application/pdf Object) by Peter Meng from the University of Missouri gives a thorough overview on these forms with particular emphasis on their applications in learning environments.
I appreciate the images and clear language. At the end of the article, Peter concludes:
Podcasting and VODcasting, and their pending derivatives, are not fads. They are very real and very practical distribution
technologies. The ability to time-shift content versus traditional broadcast distribution models expands student
teaching and learning opportunities significantly. The supporting technologies are relatively inexpensive and
surprisingly easy to use - in fact easy enough to use that faculty and students will begin to actively produce and distribute
content through this medium by summer semester 2005.
Peter, this is a huge contribution, but may I suggest that you put the actual links in your Resource section (show the urls) as the links in your .pdf are not clickable for me.
March 2005 via [Stephen Downes]
Centered Communication: Weblogs and aggregation in the organisation
James Farmer has been developing the idea of online environments which support "facilitate and accommodate semilatticed relationships." In his recent paper/posting Centered Communication: Weblogs and aggregation in the organisation he writes:
"Over the last decade business, educational and community organisations have attempted to enhance their operations through utilizing the web. A significant amount of this effort has been directed towards the development and management of internal communities, employee knowledge and organisational information. To this end, complex and powerful tools have been sourced, developed and implemented to create intranets, learning management systems, community sites, portals and virtual team spaces.Key to Farmer's ideas are that online communication is centered around the individual, not a group or a place (he references Christopher Alexander's community pattern designs). This resonates with the thinking I've been doing around "designed for groups, but experienced by individuals."
However, while many organisational communication processes have been revolutionised by direct interpersonal communication through email and Instant Messaging (IM), only limited successes have been achieved through the use of these web-based environments. It is argued that this has occurred as a result of the limitations in design of tools brought about by a tendency to embrace tree-like and centralised principles and their associated technological solutions.
In light of these arguments, this paper outlines an alternative, centred (as opposed to centralised) approach to online communication. In doing this, an organisational online communication model based around the use of weblogs and aggregation is presented and discussed in relation to its application in a large, distributed and complex setting. Key to this model are the assumptions that ownership, control, independence, choice and design for subversive use are critical in establishing conducive, motivating, authentic and effective online communication and knowledge environments."
Here are a few snippets from Farmer's piece that I'm holding/chewing:
-Subvert and design their presence and it’s operation to suit individual needs (beyond simple choices)
-Represent themselves as a unique individual over time and retain ownership over that representation
-Select and control the medium and manner in which they access and participate in the environment "
Dang, there are 5 conversation seeds in each paragraph. Now to read the comments and trackbacks.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
A BlogHer Offer and a Challenge
Can't afford the $99 Blogher registration fee? There are blogherships for those who commit to some live blogging - we are looking for bloggers who can blog the opening and closing in languages other than English and everything in between.
Are you a student who really wants to come and can't afford to? I'm offering 2 scholarships that I'll pay for, plus if you can't afford a hotel, I'll find a home to take you in in the San Jose area. If you have a bloggership, you can use the $99 to offset your other costs. Email me (nancyw at fullcirc dot com) with your reason and how you will bring a fresh voice to the event. I'll make a decision by May 15th.
Are you a person who can afford to support the participation of another woman? I challenge you to make that offer. Find a voice who would otherwise be unrepresented. Find a way to help her come.
I'm VERY interested in this breaking the mold of only-the-priveledged or "in" coming. Who will join me?
Technorati Tags: BlogHer, women, blogging
BlogHer Conference is Happening!
It is amazing what comes out of a few linked conversations, a few provocative blog posts and the passionate energy of three and a larger circle of supportive women around those three. So today, the garden has been prepared for the blossoming of BlogHer. Here is a bit from the fresh new site. Click in to read more.. (and there is LOTS more!)
Date: July 30, 2005
Location: TechMart Meeting Center, Santa Clara, CA
Official BlogHer Site: BlogHer.org
This flagship event is open to all bloggers (yes, including men and beginners) nterested in enhancing their online exposure, learning the latest best practices in blogging, networking with other bloggers, and specifically cultivating the female blogging community.
BlogHer Conference ‘05 will provide an open, inclusive forum to:
1. Discuss the role of women within the larger blog community
2. Examine the developing (and debatable) code of blogging ethics
3. Discover how blogging is shrinking the world and amplifying the voices of women worldwide
In addition, educational tracks will be available focusing on:
1. Best technology practices, newbie to advanced: how to use technology and tools to achieve text, photo, audio and video blogging goals
2. Best industry-specific practices: Why are journalists, marketers, lawyers, academics, technologists and many more blogging? And how do you find the ones you’re interested in?
3. The rights and the responsibilities of the blogger
BlogHer Conference ‘05 will be the first of its kind, an opportunity for the female blogging community to meet in person. It will set the agenda for future BlogHer networking and enhance women’s influence in the blog community.
The event will include onsite mixers and informal meet-ups for attendees seeking to network in their areas of interest. BlogHer will even set aside a "Room of Your Own" to enable attendees to form impromptu sessions. A pre-event mixer will be held in close proximity to the conference site the evening before. Also, BlogHer will designate space for vendor demonstrations, where bloggers can explore which solutions work best for their needs.
For more information on BlogHer Conference ‘05, including lodging options and registration information, visit BlogHer online.
Technorati Tags: BlogHer, women, blogging
Monday, April 11, 2005
Red Alt - I Like Your Colors
Red Alt - I Like Your Colors is a very cool tool that tells you the colors of a website you like. Lovely! Now if there was a website to give me talent to design with color!
I've actually been thinking a bit lately about the use of color in online interaction spaces. I've written before on how I've "segmented" spaces in online discussion boards using different background colors. I wonder what would be the impact of varied background colors in blog posts as an organizational/taxonomy (coloronomy) of the content? Of my mood as I wrote a blog post. What color would this post be? A cool spring green? Rain blue?
Sunday, April 10, 2005
The Cynefin Centre - Knowledgebase
The Cynefin Centre - Knowledgebase is now up and running and has many of Dave Snoden & company's articles available. If you are in to complexity, this is a rich resource.
Friday, April 08, 2005
First Monday April 2005 - It's Out!
First Monday is out... and I get the notice on Friday. Grin. First Monday April 2005. I'm about to dive into the article on Teaching as performance in the electronic classroom by Doug Brent. If you don't know about FM, check it out. (Now, if they only had a RSS feed! My my, I'm greedy on a sunny friday afternoon.)
More on Online/Virtual Community Definitions
I've had to update my article, "How Some Folks Have Tried to Describe Community" again after stumbling upon this interesting article by Nicholas J. Gervassis from the University of Edinburgh Law School In Search of the Value of Online Electronic Personae:Commercial MMORPGs and the Terms of Participation in Virtual Communities. Gervassis suggest there are two forms of virtual communities.
The first community, the intellectual virtual community, can be characterised on the basis of a shared (intellectual) interest, for example, members of a political organisation, or a Lords of the Rings fan club. The second, the functional virtual community, can be defined as a group of users participating on a single application platform, for example, an online game such as Ultima Online. To understand the difference as well as the potential for operational conflict between the two, one might draw upon the contrast between nations and states. Where states constitute regionally limited legal formations, nations are broader in their geographical manifestations and are decided upon shared cultural characteristics that distinguish ethnical groups. Functional communities resemble states: pinpointing their online locus at specific IP addresses, they submit to fundamental operational rules, set in the launching software’s computer code. Similarly, intellectual communities resemble nations. Although group members rely upon a functional community as a means of gaining network access (citizenship), they adhere to collective basic characteristics, tastes and intellectual qualities that define their shared bond beyond the procedural mechanisms of limited online geographies (nationality).The article is focused on "Electronic Personae" and is quite interesting.
Living The Brand
Another Friday Post. Elana Centor is on a road trip with her daughter. The last couple of days she has been posting about staying in Hampton Inns. Yesterday she got her money back. It's a great story for Friday reading...FunnyBusiness: Notes From The Road - Living The Brand.
Over the past few months I have been having a TERRIBLE problem with a cellular company (not the provider, the ones who sold me the phone) and the AWFUL insurance they talked me into buying. I think of how much time I waste with them and thing, dang, I WOULD pay more for better service. It matters. A lot.
Peeps: for what really matters on a Friday
Julie Leung and her daughters reveal the mysterious habits of peeps: Purple Peeper-eater: our experiments with a package of purple Peeps Bunnies. Some days my head is so full of work, of things that I think are "important," it is just lovely to let go and think about the question: do Peeps float?
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Ideas that increase the likelihood of our working together productively
Judy Brown has a piece in the April Shambala Institute "Fieldnotes" newsletter that I really liked. (issue 9) 5 Ideas that increase the likelihood of our working together. Substitute "work" for "life!"
1) Come to the work with 100% of the self. Set aside the usual distractions of phone mail, e-mail, things undone from yesterday, things to do tomorrow. Bring all of yourself to the work, not just the parts of yourself and your experience that would be obviously relevant to this work. Be l00% present here.I've been thinking about "Nose into Inquiry." I really like the feel of that phrase. I am addicted to learning, but sometimes I leap into endpoints, forgetting the inquiry. When I try to give guidance to my son in college, I realized I want to find ways to have him enjoy nosing into inquiry. The joy of the exploration without always worrying about the endpoint.
2) Let the beauty we love be what we do. Think of all the things you value and enjoy in life. Bring them with you in your peripheral vision. Bring their richness along as resources. Consider what they have to teach us about the dilemmas we are exploring today. Rumi says it best: Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened. Don't open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument. Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
3) Presume welcome and extend welcome. We all learn most effectively in spaces which welcome us. Therefore we have a responsibility to welcome each other to this place and this work and to presume that we are being welcomed, as well.
4) Nose into inquiry. When we feel challenged or confused, switch from saying to asking, from advocating to inquiry, from knowing to wondering, from stating to questioning. Like a canoe trying to make headway up a lake in the wind, nose straight into the wind, head into inquiry. When it's hard, turn to wonder.
5) Consider that is possible to emerge from the conversation refreshed, wondering, curious, surprised. Expect that our time together can provide for renewal, refreshment, helpful perspectives on the work at hand. Our work is not about more “to-do” but rather more effortless ways to do that which we must do.
When I think about "nosing" from a facilitation perspective, I seek ways that not only use questions to stimulate inquiry, but tone to include the joy and fun of the journey. I forget that sometimes as I'm hard nosed and pratical. I think I need to let more "air" into the process at times. Something to pay attention to. If I do, I think #5 would come naturally.
Gender & Diversity Program - CGIAR - Mentoring Resources
Vicki Wilde of the CGIAR Gender and Diversity program is not only a client, but a good friend and a very cool woman. She oversees a project that addresses gender and diversity issues in a global agricultural research system. Since I've been thinking a lot about gender in blogging and in technology, I thought it might be nice to pass along some of the resources Vicki and her team make available to the world. This mentoring resources are on the top of this page which is full of gender and diveristy resources.
Vicki's site also has some cool quotes. I like this one.
Hm, I think blogging can be both a candle and a mirror.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Creating Unintended Chaos (or harm)
This weekend in our Sunday paper there was an op-ed, Relief groups can create unintended chaos. Working in international development, I recognized the problems stated by the author. I also recognized them in faciltiation. Take a read and see what you think. Here is a snippet.
"Unfortunately, my approach to relief work seems to unsettle potential funders. Beginning with my first experience of this sort (Gaza, 1991), I have realized that the people I am training know far more about the situations they address than do I. Thus, my 'training' is actually collaboration -- brainstorming, if you will. I share what I know and they share what they know and together we come up with new ideas for the current situation.I too, have run into funders who did not want to fund collaboration or coaching or brainstorming. There was an assumption of a "right answer" and "expertise and authority." When I facilitate with that frame, I'm doomed to failure. But funders don't feel so comfortable when someone says, "I don't know, lets find out WITH the community!"
Funders understandably like to know what they are buying with their money. I can't say what the product will be until we develop it. Further complicating things is that our program also brings practitioners from war zones and other locations that are experiencing 'complex emergencies' to Olympia for three months of collaboration (read: 'training'). While a considerable amount of funding exists to treat refugees living in the United States, bringing practitioners from other countries doesn't qualify."Complexity is another element. When we oversimplify a situation we facilitate, we can really screw up. Recently on the AOK list, there was a wise comment about distinguishing between simple and simplicity. If we make things too simple, we can screw up. If we value simplicity, we can find ways to make sense together better.
I'm rambling. Better go do some work!
Woo, Connectedness, Communication and other Useful Online Facilitation Skills
A posting from the Communities of Practice list led me to StrengthFinders (http://gmj.gallup.com/book_center/strengthsfinder/). I had to look, because one of the strengths is woo and I love the word woo. (Woo me! Are you a bit to woo woo?) The site is a companion to a book on strengths. They list 34. Here are some that seem to me relevant to leading a community of practice (from the original com-prac post) and to online facilitation:
People strong in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person."
People strong in the Connectedness theme have faith in the links between all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason.
People strong in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters.
ncluder (formerly Inclusiveness)
(formerly Inclusiveness) People strong in the Includer theme are accepting of others. They show awareness of those who feel left out, and make an effort to include them.
People strong in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb.
People who are strong in the Relator theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.
Therese Örnberg in Sweden offered an update of her research which focuses on multimodality in online communications. I am fascinated by her questions. Emerging Communications: Research update
"In Part I, I investigate how different modes are used for communication in different types of virtual environments. The environments included all allow for voice communication, but differ greatly with regards to other qualities. One of the environments is a graphical three-dimensional world in which the participants are represented as avatars; another environment is a videoconferencing platform in which participants are visible via web cameras; and the third is a voice conferencing platform without any visual component.Both directions in this research proposal are interesting. I'm interested too, in how people co-construct their experiences (from the first part of Therese's research) and how we pass non verbal cues in the online environment -- and I'm convinced we do. Silence is a non verbal. Quick or slow response is a non verbal. I think it is richer than you might expect, but also really hard to interpret.
What I am interested in here is how people participating in gatherings in these environments co-construct both structure and content of conversation, (bolded by Nancy) in accordance with Common Ground Theory, as well as how they negotiate for roles and identity via the different modes available. Important factors here include spatiality and embodiment, and in addition to theories of Multimodality, also theories of Presence play an important role. Apart from this comparative study, a study in which I follow a group of students communicating in one of these environments over time will also be conducted and these results will be presented in a separate article.
In Part II, I turn the camera around and focus on the individual in front of his/her computer.
Technological development has not only resulted in new modes of communication to be employed in well-defined conversational settings online, but also in the possibility to engage in different conversations simultaneously. When multitasking, the individual is in the centre of a unique and complex discourse scenario in which different discourses are interwoven. Here, I will examine how the different modes combine when people participate in several intertwined and/or separate discourses. The questions explored include: how does the individual navigate between the different channels and how do they interrelate? What governs the choice of channel and what modes tend to be the primary ones? How does this type of communication situation differ from the less complex communication situations studied in Part I, and how do they differ from communication situations face-to-face? How do these differences affect the verbal and non-verbal signals transmitted? What role does the verbal play? What linguistic patterns can be identified? How is discursive coherence created? What is the function of each channel/mode respectively and do they differ as regards level of formality? Does code-switching take place when switching between channels? These questions will be explored by closely observing a number of multitasking informants and the way they interact and communicate via modern technology.
The results of my research project should provide additional insight into the complex matter of how our language and our communication are adapted in computer-mediated communication situations. Apart from the linguistic (the term linguistic here also includes what traditionally is referred to as extralinguistic) results, I hope that my research will have practical implications for e-learning, not least in language education at a distance, which is one of my areas of interest."
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
A couple of months ago I posted a string of blog posts about how we deal with things that challenge us online. Here is another perspective from Blogger Steven Streight. I read it with humor. Some classic advice, but I would not use all of his approaches - to each his/her own. That said, I bet it works for some bloggers. Vaspers the Grate: blogger asbestos
"BLOGGER ASBESTOSAs I read Steven's advice, I wondered how our gender and culture influence our anti-flaming strategies. I suspect strongly with the subsequent impact being that those like us may have a greater chance of responding in the spirit we intended, and when we have little in common, we may infact fan the flames even more.
How to Keep Yourself From Getting Burned by Online Flamers: Types of Flamers & How to Respond to Them"
Ain't it delightful to be human?
Mobile Community Design: Common Mobile Group Actions
Jeff Axup got me thinking with his mostMobile Community Design: Common Mobile Group Actions
"I've been thinking about how there are broad categories in mobility. Every activity groups do while on the move is different, but there are similar things that people do in different circumstances. Perhaps viewing mobile group behavior from this perspective will show areas that we are concentrating too much on or types of mobile actions we are neglecting. Perhaps common classes of actions have similarities across diverse situations? I'm not so much trying to artificially categorize mobility as to show common areas in the ethnographic research."A bunch of us have been trying to look at online interaction tools in the context of activity categories for distributed communities of practice. Seeing this table for mobile phones helped me move my thinking a bit more forward. What was cool were the activities that extended beyond TALKING or messaging on the phone... but passing on the phone. Excellent expansion. Thanks, Jeff.
Monday, April 04, 2005
The Passion of Shared Meaning
Kathy Sierr writes in Creating Passionate Users: The new geek speak / neo-marketing language: "We mock the corporate b.s. speak, but have we listened to ourselves lately? "
Adding a picture worth the proverbial thousand words...
"When people are passionate (or even just "into") something, they have a shared lexicon that helps dinstinuish them from those who aren't."
I struggle with groups about the issue of "wasting time defining words." It can be a frustrating experience, but it is also a breakthrough experience, especially for distributed groups. If we don't calibrate on some key terms, we can quickly lose each others meaning. So when Kathy connected meaning to passion, a little lightbulb went off.
From a process standpoint, how can we facilitate conversations around the meaning of words we use that builds on the passion and avoids the pain of more traditional "lets define this and that" processes?
More Well Anniversary History: The Backroom Incident
A community's history is a gold mine and often great entertainment years later. The Well is particularly lucky as a lot of her history has been recorded in books and magazine articles. And on websites here and there. This one surfaced last week during some of the 20th anniversary festivities. Here's a snippet. For the curious, click on!
The Backroom Incident:
"Unless you're a WELL user of a certain vintage, you've probably never heard of the backroom conference, and you will likely have less than no interest in this little jeremiad. If so, count yourself fortunate.What goes on behind the scenes in a community - online or offline - is of incredible significance to the community, yet it is often not made available -- that's why they call it the backroom. Do you have any backroom stories to share that help show how to use backroom and backchannel interaction productively in online communities? How to avoid the bad stuff?
If, for some reason, you decide to read this anyway, a bit of background. 'The vile figtex' was a semi-affectionate nickname for the two people who managed the WELL, Cliff Figallo (login name 'fig') and John Coate ('tex'). The WELL was originally owned 50/50 by NETI and Point Foundation (home of the Whole Earth Catalog). Unfortunately, while this enabled the WELL to truthfully claim to have been born of poor but honest parents, it also meant that neither owner was ever in a position to invest money in the WELL when it needed a capital infusion, although the users were known to pitch in back in those early days - even to the point of buying a replacement computer.
In the summer of 1991, NETI, which was in the process of going bankrupt in an ugly way, sold its half of the WELL to Bruce Katz, who had made his fortune at Rockport, the shoe company. At the same time, trouble was looming as the WELL, which at that time was growing, started to overshoot its technical infrastructure.
I wrote this some years after the described events, to a WELLbeing who had not been around at the time. WELL login names are given in parentheses."
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Event : Discovering our power to make good things happen
Passing this along!
Humanize the Earth!: Discovering our power to make good things happen: "Discovering our power to make good things happen
Please join us for a three-day event of, by and for the Omidyar.net community and friends -- to build our capacity to make good things happen.
What: Discovering Our Power to Make Good Things Happen
When: July 29-31, 2005
Where: Carleton Hotel, Oak Park, IL (http://www.carletonhotel.com)
Who We Are: Omidyar.net is a new, growing online community. We believe every individual has the power to make a difference. We exist for one single purpose: So that more and more people discover their own power to make good things happen. If you have not joined this community yet, you can go to http://www.omidyar.net/home and check it out.*
You're Invited: This conference is for Omidyar.net members, friends and other curious do-gooders to come together, make connections, have fun, do as much good work as each and every one of us can... and then go home, more connected, energized and capable of doing more and more of whatever we call good in the world. Come join a good party getting better! ...and bring your good friends, too!:
If you are reading this invitation, it is because someone thought you might be interested in joining this work. Please join us to make good things happen!
* What kind of good things are happening because of the work you are doing in the world?
* What do you need to do in order for more good things to happen as a result of the work you really want to do?
* What skills, resources, gifts and connections do you have to share?
* What would happen if you could grow and get and share?
Come to Oak Park, Chicago and find out!
(*) The best way to engage with this growing socially active network is to go online and join the omidyar.net community. Omidyar.net is the Virtual Roof under which much of the planning, coordinating and follow-on work occur. If you can't join us onsite and want to convene a local version of this simultaneously, please contact us so that we can help you post your discussion notes and next steps into the main conference online workspace. One way or another, we'll all go forward together!"
Saturday, April 02, 2005
riomenajang :: Wiki Resources
Passing along a nice resource from Wiki Science:How to start a Wiki Wikibooks (Check out this person's great family pics on the left nav bar as well!)
Free wiki hosting
.Must Read: Evidence on ICT for Development
If you are interested in international development and are paying attention to the role of information communication technologies (ICTs), read Ethan Zuckerman's article, Mike Best with evidence that ICT4D works..., of March 25th. The whole thing. Snippets are not useful here. . He talks about data presented by Mike Best at a Berkman Center gathering. Mike has done some preliminary research on the correlation (NOT causation) between internet access, phone access and democritization. Some of this data raised my eyebrows, but upon reflection, asks me to seriously pay closer attention to my assumptions. READ IT!
Community Ownership of Radio in India
In my work assisting folks in applying online interaction tools and processes to my work, over and over again it is clear that ownership of the medium, content and process of interaction is essential for even a hope of sustainability. That has translated into making design and deployment a community function, not the "consultant" function. I facilitate rather than do.
When you think of this concept in terms of any medium, it still makes sense. Today via the BytesforAll mailing list I was pointed to this story: When own mohallah is on air, all you will hear is radio ga ga
NEW DELHI, APRIL 1: Imagine a radio station for every neighbourhood. Where local shops can advertise their goods, where communities can not only take charge of news content but debate on issues such as health and education.There are some interesting bits in this article and I want to learn more (one web press story does not the full story tell!) First is the catalyst - the tsunami. The role of catalysts in change is incredible. From an activist perspective, what kinds of positive human catalysts can we deploy to stimulate change?
Trying to make all this happen is the Information and Broadcasting Ministry which now awaits a response to a note circulated to the Ministries of Home, Communication and Defence before taking it to the Cabinet for approval.
Once cleared, it will usher in a radio revolution in the country which officials estimate should not take more than six months.
Over two years after the policy on community radio was announced—the BJP government’s decision on December 18, 2002 confined it to universities and colleges for security reasons—the UPA government is planning to hand over the radio to the community.
What this effectively means is non-governmental organisations, voluntary associations, Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) can start radio stations of their own, subject to the availability of frequencies. With bank guarantee money proposed to be reduced to Rs 25,000 from Rs 50,000, the radio station can become operational.
One of the reasons for bringing in a change in the policy, according to sources, was the lack of effective communication during the recent Tsunami disaster.
‘‘Communities operating radio stations along the coastal area could have issued adequate warning to prevent large-scale casualties,’’ sources said. With this in mind, the I&B Ministry has proposed that the community take charge of radio operations.
Advertising will be allowed but has been capped at five minutes to an hour of programming. Foreign funds will be allowed through the FCRA or Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act. Flexibility is also being shown in increasing the wattage of transmitters which is now at 50 watts.
Second is the cost issue. Lowering the license fee and allowing outside funding is part of the control, or loosening of control. When I read this, I thought about the work Jock Gill is proposing around women in rich countries funding their sisters in the 2/3rds world through direct, personal microfinance. Would funding a radio station be a good investment?
Third is the provision for advertising. I'm no fan of radio ads, but I'm a big fan of finding mechanisms for sustainability and local ownership. External capital can start something, but it can't sustain it.
What do you think? Is this community in action?
Sometimes I forget the value of humor. I can be too serious and it is really a drag. So I need people like Tild~. She wrapped up "Estrogen Month" with a few more great She Blogger images. I LOVE TILD! Check out the latest, plus one because I have to link to the images. They are great!
Tild ~: Sweet Savage She-Blogger
Support her via her Cafe Press store!
Friday, April 01, 2005
How Some Folks Have Tried to Describe Community - Update 2005
In 1999 I wrote an article entitled How Some Folks Have Tried to Describe Community. It was always a useful touchstone of definitions from some of the leading thinkers of the time. A recent thread on Corante's Many2Many group blog prompted me to update this article. I hope it's useful. I'm reprinting it here.
How Some Folks Have Tried to Describe Community
Search the web and you will find dozens and dozens of discussions on the definition and existence of online communities. In 1999 I collected a few that struck me as thoughtful and useful. A recent thread on Corante's Many2Many group blog prompted me to update this article. (Read the comments to the blog post -- that's where it gets interesting.) I've interspersed the old with the new.
Cliff Figallo, in his book Hosting Web Communities, described a set of attributes captured the essence of "connection" as manifest in community in terms of relationships. He uses words like "feeling part of a larger social whole," "web of relationships," "an exchange...of commonly valued things," and "relationships...that last through time creating shared histories." (p.15)
Mihaela Moussou, an experienced online community builder offered this set of parameters in 1999 for community as a group "supportive of all its members, accepts individual styles and fills in gaps when/where needed in order to sustain itself and for the good of the whole." (from a private conference).
The UCLA Center for the Study of Online Community in their site introduction state that the Center "seeks to present and foster studies that focus on how computers and networks alter people's capacity to form groups, organizations, institutions, and how those social formations are able to serve the collective interests of their members. If you are willing to use the word loosely, all of these social formations can be thought of as some form of community."
Wally Bock, an online commentator stated "Communities are characterized by three things: common interests, frequent interaction, and identification." He posited in 1999 that all three things must be present for an online space to be a community.
A federal judge at a FCC workshop said "Community is like pornography, I don't know how to define it, but I sure know it when I see it." "When we talk about communities at FE we are not referring to any aggregate of people, but to the quality of communication among them," said M. Scott Peck (Both quotes from Community Building, Renewing Spirit and Learning in Business.).
From a more academic perspective, Luciano Paccagnella of the University of Milan suggested, "Virtual communities has lately become a fashionable term which will be used here as a useful metaphor to indicate the articulated pattern of relationships, roles, norms, institutions, and languages developed on-line. This is not to say that we take the term virtual community as a positive value in itself, nor that we advocate an enthusiastic or optimistic view of computer networks. Even the very authenticity of communities developed on-line should not be taken for granted without an effort to come to a commonly accepted definition of what a community really is. The term virtual community is therefore still a problematic scientific concept ([Jones, 1995b]; [McLaughlin et al. 1995]). Anyway, communities are indeed worth studying when we do not look at them with romantic eyes, but with the eyes of the interpretivist ethnographer: according to Geertz , man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun and the job of the researcher is to achieve a thick description of those webs." http://www.ascusc.org/jcmc/vol3/issue1/paccagnella.html
Hagel and Armstrong in their definitive book on business related online community, Net Gain, suggested there are five elements that define community which include: distinctive focus, integration of content and communications, a valuing of member generated content, an openness to competitive information/access and a commercial orientation.
In her book, "Inhabiting the Virtual City: The design of social environments for electronic communities" (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1996), Judith Stefania Donath wrote, "People on the net should be thought of not only as solitary information processors, but also as social beings. People are not only looking for information, they are also looking for affiliation, support and affirmation... If we view people as social actors, then we should view the net as a social technology. A social technology is one that makes it possible to find people with common interests, to talk with them and listen to them, and to sustain connections with them over time." Is this community?
Howard Rheingold, the man who coined the term "virtual community" (and later suggested that that might have been a mistake!) offered in his book, The Virtual Community, "Virtual communities are social aggregations that emerge from the Net when enough people carry on those public discussions long enough, with sufficient human feeling, to form webs of personal relationships in cyberspace."
"Towntalk," a listserv on online community (now defunct) offered this description in 1999: "We define a virtual community this way:
1) It is interactive and built on the concept of many-to-many communications...;
2) It is designed to attract and retain community members who become more than superficially involved in community events...and...are able to make new friends through the community;
3) It has a single defining focus;... (that) gives them a reason to return;
4) It provides services to community members,... that meet community member needs;
5) It has, or has the potential to develop, a strong commercial element..."
Joseph Cothrel and Ruth Williams, in their 1999 article in Knowledge Management Review (Jan/Feb 1999, pp. 20-25) interviewed people who worked together online. Their initial definition of online community was "a group of people who use computer networks as their primary mode of interaction." But users were more apt to say they were participants in "communities of practice" or "communities of interest." Probing future, the things people most associated with "community" were "a sense of commonality: common interests; purpose; or objectives" and felt "the social element was critical to distinguishing a community from a mere group of individuals."
Jake at Community Guy wrote in 2005 about community "People often think that blogs, forums, wikis, and other tools are community. In actuality, those tools are just that - tools. They can help you to build community, but they aren't actually "community". When we talk community, we're simply talking about an interaction, a connection. Blogs or forums are a way to initiate and sustain that interaction." He wrote that community is "A group of people who form relationships over time by interacting regularly around shared experiences, which are of interest to all of them for varying individual reasons."
Marc Smith and Peter Kollock edited a fascinating collections of essays in their 1999 book,
Communities in Cyberspace, which delve deeper into the related issues of online community including governance, identity and reciprocity. The thread that runs through the essays is that people make real connections on the net.
247Webpages.com's Glossary in 2005 defines online community -- "While the entire global Internet is one online community the term is more specifically applied to particular interest groups, trades, cultural genres and local neighborhoods. For instance the "online arts community" refers to web sites and surfers in the arts. The Internet is experiencing its most recent growth in actual physical neighborhoods going online from community groups to shopping. In reality there are hundreds of thousands of online communities on the web. In most cases it will be critical for you to identify the best and highest number possible of web sites within particular online communities which may relate to your concern as these are your avenues for promotion of your own web site and audience cultivation."
Barry Wellman (2001) wrote "I define "community" as networks of interpersonal ties that provide sociability, support, information, a sense of belonging, and social identity. I do not limit my thinking about community to neighbourhoods and villages. This is good advice for any epoch and especially pertinent for the twenty-first century." Wellman has also talked more about networks than groups online which is another important angle into the definition of online community. "We find community in networks, not groups. Although people often view the world in terms of groups (Freeman 1992), they function in networks. In networked societies: boundaries are permeable, interactions are with diverse others, connections switch between multiple networks, and hierarchies can be flatter and recursive." (See also his useful note.)
Amy Jo Kim, author of "Community Building on the Web" wrote in 2001, "My own definition is a working, pragmatic definition, not the definition: A group of people who share a common interest or purpose; who have the ability to get to know each other better over time. There are two pieces to that definition. That second piece — getting to know each other better over time — means that there needs to be some mechanism of identity and communication. Something as simple as a mailing list has that. People have an identity, you know what their e-mail is, and you can communicate with them in the group setting. "
In the context of non profits, the Benton Foundation (2001) stated " "Online community" is the concept of convening people in virtual space and describes a range of online activities including electronic collaboration, virtual networks, Web-based discussions or electronic mailing lists."
If we step further back to more general definitions of community, there is another layer of meaning which has relevance for online communities. Here are a few:
"A community is a group of two or more people who have been able to accept and transcend their differences regardless of the diversity of their backgrounds (social, spiritual, educational, ethnic, economic, political, etc.). This enables them to communicate effectively and openly and to work together toward goals identified as being for their common good. " From the website of the Foundation for Community Encouragement
From the folks at Learnativity a bit more on the roots of "community." "In the physical world, communities are typically groups of people (a town, for instance) held together by some common identity or interest. The same holds true for virtual or online communities in that they, too, are comprised of people with shared identity or interests coming together for a shared purpose...Coming from two Latin words meaning "with gifts," the term community suggests a general sense of altruism, reciprocity, and beneficence that comes from working together. Communities help generate a shared language, rituals and customers, and collective memory of those that join the group."
And again from M. Scott Peck, "If we are going to use the word meaningfully [community] we must restrict it to a group of individuals who have learned how to communicate honestly with each other, whose relationships go deeper than their masks of composure, and who have developed some significant commitment to "rejoice together, mourn together," and to "delight in each other, make others' conditions our own." (The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace by M. Scott Peck M.D.)
* Beck, Frank. 2000. "Re Communities." * Comment on the American Sociological Association Community and Urban Sociology discussion list, January 15:
* Castells, Manuel. 1996. The Rise of the Network Society. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
* Darkwa, Osei and Fikile Mazibuko. 2000. "Creating Virtual Learning Communities in Africa: Challenges and Prospects." First Monday 5 (5), website.
* Hillery, George Jr. 1955. "Definitions of Community: Areas of Agreement." Rural Sociology 20: 111-122.
* Putnam, Robert. 2000. Bowling Alone. New York: Simon & Schuster.
* Rheingold, Howard. 2000. The Virtual Community. revised edition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
* Wellman, Barry. 1979. "The Community Question." American Journal of Sociology 84: 1201-31.
Blogs Which Touch on "Community"
Jordan, OWL, Online Community and Community Software
I subscribe to a persistent Bloglines search for "online community" which unearths interesting nuggets when I have time to scan (or when I'm in work avoidance mode.) Today I found the work of Jordan. (September 5, 2006 edited to remove non functioning hyperlinks.)
OWL.1 - Design Philosophy
What we need is an Organizational Whuffie Liaison; a structured way to trade hacker whuffie for cold hard cash. Taking inspiration from my alma mater, I was taught that intelligence and dedication should be enough to get by in life. Those who refuse to compromise craft their own life lessons through trails of momentary misdirection.OWL.2 - History of GroupWare
But what is Owl? It lies somewhere in the intersection of RentACoder and SourceForge. It’s a project marketplace where ideas are proposed, designed, developed, and funded. It tracks sucessfully created projects and builds upon some notion of whuffie. It promotes cross-pollination through code reuse. It is driven fundamentally by economic incentive.
To gain perspective on Owl, I’ll be exploring the histories of tangential pieces of software in the next few posts. I’m going to start with Commercial GroupWare, as these are the pieces of software that have been most influential (from a userbase perspective) to the current state of online community.OWL.3 - History of Online Commmunity
Today I’m going to be doing a rundown of the technology behind online community. This is a far more academically interesting topic than Commercial GroupWare, simply because we see technology being driven by what is possible rather than by what is economically viable.I've just scanned the three articles so far, but I had to smile to note the third part, as today is the 20th Anniversary of The Well. Online community has been a central part of my life since 1996, so I'm a relative newbie, but I feel like a part of this larger network of those who have experienced true community online.
Chris Corrigan on Improving Conferences
The always delightful and thought provoking Chris Corrigan posted a bit on Improving conferences. I've pulled a few snippets. Read the whole thing!
Prompted by posts by Johnnie Moore Ton Zylstra and David Wilcox, I've been thinking about how we might improve conferences.Next, Chris moves to some specific ideas.
Here are a few more things I'd consider: