Don’t Cross The Streams: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light
Sunday, I will be sitting in with a group of smart edglings at Blogworld, discussing various aspects of the rapidly changing webosphere. I think that the group will include Brian Solis, Louis Gray, Tedd Corman, and yours truly, and we are talking aout 11am or 12:15pm MT, to be determined.
Brian stirred things up by emailing us about the panel, which I don’t think is in the online schedule. I suggest we call it Crossing The Streams (nod to Ghost Busters… “total protonic reversal!”):
Basically the panel would explore distributed conversations, fragmented expertise, and also the challenge of being everywhere – and whether or not it’s necessary or feasible.
So here’s a few things that I am hoping to discuss, although there is much more we could touch on.
- The social side of web life has migrated from social media (blogs) into a fragmented world of media-centered social networks (Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube) and lightweight commentary flow applications (Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook (yes, it’s in both categories), etc.). As a result, edglings have a distributed web ‘pattern of use’, ‘presence’, or non-overlapping communities of contacts.
- It’s part of the on-going demassification of people’s activities on the web. As more people participate, we will have a small number of ‘big sites’ like YouTube and TechCrunch with millions of daily ‘hits’ or social interactions, but innovation into specialized ways to interact socially will allow people to spend more of their time online in social scale — interacting with smaller numbers of known people — ‘friends’ — interacting around more narrowly focussed topics or activities, like knitting, Nascar, or local food. While there are natural social forces that lead to massing up, there are equally natural forces leading to smaller social scale: a corollary of long tail economics.
- There are limits to how much fun one person can have, so people — not even Robert Scoble — can’t be everywhere all the time. I wrote a longish post a year ago called ‘The Costs Of Being A Creative’ where I argued that creativity of any sort requires time apart, to reflect and perfect any art. While it may be possible that much of what constitutes being a ‘person of letters’ on the web these days can be done in public, still, I maintain that much of what is involved has its wellspring in reflection, not just conversation. I am not making a secret argument for less engagement, or some hypthetical perfect balance. But I sense that while there may be rewards to those wild and brave enough to share their innermost selves on line, there are costs, as well, including losing that time alone in a room, sawing away on a cello or practicing a challenging karate kata.