On Being In The Community Business

Terse outline, but the essence of what I most like to discuss. Notes for an address to a 1994 meeting of IEEE.


A text-based asynchronous virtual environment, 
	...and the people who've homesteaded it.  

The key features may just be:
deliberate community building 

1. Cultivate a sense of ownership and citizenship
Hosts and helpers

Key concepts:
	     Limited resources
	     what it is is up to us

Magic, madness, feuds, volunteer programmers, barnraisings, 
parties, local jargon, the sense of virtual place

People pay to create fascinating content by telephone all the time.  
People will co-create in a many-to-many community setting if: 

it adds meaning 
it gives the value of being known.  

The producers of community and relationship are 
the consumers and the heart of the product.  

A "place" to find people and ideas, and to be found, 
is the core service, and navigation or layout of the 
commons is what makes this possible.


Expectations and perceptions:    
Um, is this the Internet?; 
Talking back to That's The Way It Is;  
the Ant Farmers; or Get out of the Car!
where's the database;  
are the hosts all shrinks?;  
Won't the WELL throw that moron off for being verbally abusive, the 
	little %*@^... 
The scenery is ignoring me.

Interaction is with changing, living people, not with a programmer's 
expectation of your behavior. 

Feedback shock: Mutual Judgement Day. 

The self-marketing mechanism.

Editors as virtual assassins.  

Making partitions. Buffering privacy.

Trafficking in information. 

What does Information want?  

There's a standard for sending English text, but not for culture, language 
and trust transmitted between humans as that text is read.


Sense of common place preserved? 

So far you can log in with your paperweight:  Junkers in the slow lane add 
value in the communications business.

Video/radio in combo with text is popular with users.  

Audio visual dialog makes sampling more natural and/or problematic. 

"You own your own ________ "      


Counterpoint as an antidote to control.  
Dissent: a pain and an asset.

Hop to Gail William's Personal Page