I have been talking BLOG’s through with Tom, trying to understand their characteristics and potential uses and have some initial observations and thoughts.
One key point is that BLOG’s represent a person rather than a virtual place – that is they are person not place centric. The implications for this are many, not least is the sense of ownership and empowerment it brings. BLOG’s belong to individuals, the content and the way in which they chose to allow others to interact with it is the individuals choice.
One of the central tenets of Ultralab’s approach to online community is that privacy is important – that is knowing who can read and respond to conversations. BLOG philosophy turns this on its head, by their nature they are very ‘public’ (although it is possible to make them private) and an important question is does this significantly change the nature of discourse? Are we at Ultralab too precious about the need for privacy? It seems to me that there will be occasions when a high level of disclosure is desirable and a public BLOG may deter some from contributing. There will also be instances when sensitive issues are discussed that would be impossible if access to conversations were open. However, I wonder if our use of electronic means of communication might be maturing sufficiently so that we are comfortable sharing far more online. The default position should maybe be open access with recognition that particular conversations should be private.
Lastly, how empowering BLOGS are for individuals who wish to get their ‘voice’ heard. No gatekeepers, just listen to me if you want to. The online ‘speakers corner!’