Friday, February 05, 2010

A fragmented conversation.

I confess, last night was my first conscious exposure to #lrnchat on Twitter. The theme was online learning myths. Jane Hart has captured the event nicely with this post.

It is quite a challenge to capture a cogent thought in just 140 characters! Fortunately a myth can usually be expressed quite succinctly.

Next week's theme is confessions of trainers and learners. That might be less conducive to brevity.

It's worth noting that I came to know about #lrnchat via Jane's Facebook status. It was updating with her contributions to the conversation and Donald Clark and I began to respond to her updates on Facebook. Jane invited us to join the conversation on Twitter. I did, briefly, between the various things and people that clamour for my attention of an evening.

This ties in with a question Wendy Wickham asked on Facebook about blogging:

"Question for the long-time edubloggers - is it just me or are we all getting quieter? How frequently are you posting these days?"
  • My response was: "I don't blog as much as I used to. The conversation appears to have moved elsewhere... like here [Facebook], for instance!"
  • Harold Jarche's response included: "Maybe life-streaming is replacing blogging for some people, but it's still a key part of my online professional communications and learning."
  • Stephen Downes (after pointing out that he wasn't getting any quieter, which is true) observed: "a lot of the 'connector posts' (I link to you, you link to me, we form a chain of conversation) have moved to Twitter and Facebook, etc. Still a lot of good blog posts out there, a lot of good commentary, but they aren't tightly linked the way they used to be."
One thing I've noticed is that threads of the same conversation run through a variety of spaces. As happened with the whole lrnchat thing, I come across fragments of a conversation in one space and follow the trail to where the main body is taking place. Once there, I find and follow links to all manner of tendrils in a host of other places.

Sometimes the links are to contributions I would not have related to the subject at hand (in fact it is unlikely that the original contributor would have done so, either, in some cases), until the connection was identified by another participant. In those situations, it's a little like looking at one of those optical illusion images and only being able to see one perspective, until someone says, "No look. That's her cheek there, and that's a feather in her hair. And she's kind of looking away from you..." Suddenly it all becomes clear and you have an "Ooooh, yeah - I see it now" moment.

But the conversation is everywhere. In all the spaces at once. If I were to suddenly stop twittering or facebooking or reading blogs, I feel as if I would stand to lose a valuable strand. So, even though I have been quieter here than in the past, I feel no less engaged in the conversation.

What is your observation?

4 comments:

V Yonkers said...

I just wrote a post a couple of weeks ago with the same observation. I had some interesting comments. My conclusion from the feedback I received was that the purpose of blogging has changed as new tools take on the tasks that used to be all inclusive in the blog.

Gryphon said...

thanks the link and the reference Karyn.

Don't we all know by know that as Marshall McLuan said, "The Medium is the Message."

Don Guitar said...

I'm blogging at about the same frequency (infrequency) as usual but I find it disturbing that there's so seldom any new content in the blogs I most enjoy reading. On the other hand I write the occasional tweet, spend a few minutes a day interacting with friends on facebook, answer questions on aardvark, frequently write email to one or more email groups, write comments on blogs and write my twice monthly ezine. I don't think the purpose of blogging has changed all that much but our attention is being subdivided in numerous new directions which may be drawing time and effort away from our blogs.

Karyn Romeis said...

@V_Yonkers I don't how I can have missed that since (a) I subscribe to your RSS feed and (b) you've linked to my blog. How weird is that? I'm going to have to go and tighten up the guy ropes on my feeds and searches!

@Gryphon No problem.

@Don Guitar I haven't noticed a shortage of anything new among my favourite bloggers. Maybe it's time for a springclean of your reading list?

Your reflections definitely echo my own experience.