Make Yourself at Home – The Internet is a Place

“…the place where any telephone call takes place” – William Gibson

This morning’s Citizen’s League conversation reminded me how not everyone considers this website a location. In the same way a park or a coffee shop is a location – a place where people meet for conversation. I’ve long seen blogs as back porches and think of the First Crack Podcast as a coffee shop (with free wifi) where you quietly eavesdrop on conversations for 20 minutes at a time.

The difference is one of synchronization. You’re reading this post minutes, hours, or years after I’ve written it. There’s a decent chance you can still comment (in some way) whenever this is. Dave Slusher calls it the Space Telephone. Conversations at the coffee shop down the block don’t work like that – we need to be near each other in both time and space. Making that much more difficult to accomplish. Especially when much prep work can be accomplished through the space phone.

This asynchrony is advantageous – biasing long-term discussion over short-term sound-bites. Through in the bit that hyperlinks are inherently a social cue and you’ve got an ecosystem to extend a “real” community electronically.

Bonus: Steve Borsch moblogged the event.

More Photos Here

Griff Wigley wrote up the event. Griff’s point is a good one – we need more stories to share, more dramatic examples of how easy-to-use internet tools can enable groups to make civic change.