image from plenary not broadcast to Second LifeCory Ondrejka in the second plenary here at MiT5 thinks there is no community in blogs. Posting this is equivalent to standing on a hill yelling at you all through a megaphone, and if you leave a comment or link to this from your own blog, you’re just standing over on your separate hill yelling through your own megaphone. There’s no sense of community or audience in blogs, or on the web: it’s fundamentally a solo experience, albeit sometimes experienced in parallel. If a video is streamed to Second Life, on the other hand, the audience is right there and can discuss the video with other people in the audience in real time.

The image above is from the streaming of the first plenary from this conference to Second Life, and was captured by Jude, who attempted to attend the session – in Second Life. Unfortunately, all he actually got to see was a quicktime loading icon for 45 minutes – so much for that. He does note that he got to talk with the people around him, though he doesn’t say whether they talked about anything interesting or relevant to the talk. And he notes he has no idea who these people are in real life.

I’m following Twitter and checking Technorati for blog posts about this conference. I’m getting to know a few new people, which is interesting. And instead of formulating a question about all this to ask in public, I’m writing this blog post. Yelling from a megaphone? Hardly.

[Axel Bruns has more complete notes on this session]

8 thoughts on “a sense of audience in Second Life, in real life and at MiT5

  1. michael newman

    Hey Jill, I heard him say that about blogs and thought, this person doesn’t get blogs at all.
    Hope to see you in person at the conference.

  2. Jason Mittell

    I think Cory’s point was that blogging/commenting is asynchronous & monologic in the moment, rather than the real time dialogue of SL, IM, etc. The effect is conversation, but it’s stretched out over time.

    His other point is that I’m now supposed to call you stupid, as that’s the discursive norm on blogs… I’ll decline.

  3. Chuck

    I thought that megaphone comment was a poor characterization of blogging, too. Jason’s reading makes some sense, but why privilege real time dialog in Second Life or IM (and does that make SL and prettier version of IM)?

    Cory must only read the top 100 or so blogs because in real blogs, I rarely see people act as uncivilly as he described. Nice meeting you IRL, BTW.

  4. Jill

    Yes, I don’t really feel like we’re yelling in megaphones or calling each otehr stupid right here in these comments – thanks, Jason, for declining 🙂

  5. Alan

    FYI, there were mega technical issues with the providers of the video stream.

    They are hoping to have it fixed for the next two days of the conference, but
    they are posting the audio as podcasts at http://cms.mit.edu/news/podcast

    (If I had my druthers, events like this might use streaming live audio instead, not
    clear on value of watching people talk).

    The comments of blogging seemt stuck on the old picture of community as being
    self contained and easily identifiable. The blogging community is definitely
    powerful among those who experience it, but it is diffused and more amorphous…
    yet to me more rich in the unexpected connections and the payoff for personal
    participation.

  6. Kim Middleton

    Like others here, Cory’s comment struck me as strange, as much as I enjoyed his other contributions to the plenary.

    I just ran across this (http://www.crablaw.com/2007/04/take-back-blog-host-page.html): a multi-blog response (what they’re calling a “blogswarm”) to protest (among other things) online harassment of women bloggers. Of the many examples that might counter Cory’s blog metaphor, this one stood out due to it’s timing. What if you’re standing on top of a hill yelling into a megaphone with a community of other people?

  7. Jill

    Kim! I really wanted to go to your presentation on pseudonymous bloggers, but I had to choose between two panels, was a very hard choice. Would love to see the paper, if you wrote one for it…

  8. Kim Middleton

    Wow, I’d be happy to send along what I’ve got, Jill, since your article “Blogging from the Ivory Tower” is quoted liberally in it!

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