A picture named me.jpg

"Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It's the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all. How do we define this lively darting about with words, of hitting them back and forth, this sort of brief smile of ideas which should be conversation?" ~ Guy de Maupassant ~

Monday, May 16, 2005

Blog Comments - Conversational Blogging

Nice post from Charu on conversational blogging and the role of comments and links, triggered by 'what makes a blog a blog' on Naked Conversations : "If blogs are about open conversations, how can you turn off comments and claim its a blog?" 

I couldn't agree more.  Read this for a really candid view on some of the top "blogs" !!!

I'm a huge fan of conversational blogging. I find I am so let down when I read a post without comments. I keep feeling that Amit at India Uncut, who writes so well, and many other blogs who have disabled comments (they have their reasons like spam and hate mail) have not really recognised the magic in conversations. Its what makes blogging so unique as opposed to online publications or websites. Often, the comments are the most interesting part of a post.  They engage the reader, they encourage dialogue.  They can sometimes take the thought much further than the author had ever envisaged. 


There's been a lot of debate on this ... am so enjoying this discussion and learning too.  Thanks everyone for sharing your views.  Thanks too to Amit for posting about this issue at Indicubed and WOW ... i went in there today ... and i have learned so much from all the discussion in the comments.  42 comments that have taken the original issue to meaningful places and opened my eyes to different views.  To each his own .. still, the fleshing out of the issues and the discussion has been so rewarding.  A real example of the power of commenting. 


12:11:54 PM    comment []  trackback []

Global Blog Voices - Embracing Diversity

Nancy White has this wonderful post - Transparent Representation and Gentle Nudges where she ponders about diversity in representation of voices in conversations. It resonates with me.

"Mary Hodder wrote something that rang bells for me in the ongoing "conversation" about representation in blogging (women, men, people of color, nationality, expertise, etc.). I keep struggling to get away from the man/woman thing. I believe the point is that we need a higher level of self awareness and conciousness of our diverse world because the internet is, in a sense, making us bare it all. We are visible in unprecedented ways.

Mary wrote a reference about the make up of presenters
PopTech in the perspective of how the organizers represented their event. She wrote in Napsterization:

"The point is, if you purport to represent the world, and cover the world, in your conference or discussion, then do it by including people who are beyond your demographic, and work that goes beyond your demographic (and there is lots of amazing work out there by folks who happen to have other perspectives), for projects and ideas covering other worlds than yours. This isn't about forcing a change, it's about being honest about what you're perspective is."

For me this applies not just to conferences, but any type of gathering. As a person who often convenes or facilitates online events, I know how easy it is to fall into the trap of representing more than you can actually represent."

She ends it with these thoughts ...

"And finally, how do we take our self awareness and make it part of our daily experience as we open out to this crazy, global society? How do we represent ourselves transparently enough to invite another's view and to allow ourselves the possibility of being changed by that view? It means stepping outside of our confort zones, balancing our own view of the world with the views of others and changing the way we live and work. Fundamentally."

I remember feeling the same as I attended PopTech last October, and I had blogged my thoughts right after a session then :

Some thoughts as an Indian in an audience that is primarily American - The theme of the conference is The Next Rennaissance and a lot of the presenters yesterday and this morning talked about developing countries and how the world order is changing - India is one of them. Naturally, from an American or first world perspective given the location of the conference and the composition of speakers and audience.

What bothers me a little is that presentations like the one on Bhutan earlier today only reinforce ''exotica'' - they in no way are telling us why and how these nations must be embraced as one world, how these nations have real people, real development, real innovations that might often surprise the first world. And that the first world could learn a lot by sharing. Alex Steffen touched upon some of these - but i havent seen enough of it yet, or any depth. And what about commitment ?

The sense i get from many of the speakers so far is the attempt to tell or 'warn' America to wake up to the potential and growth happening in these parts of the world. I just wish they had speakers from these nations who are actually affecting and changing the future in those parts of the world, through work they are doing.

I feel the audience here would benefit from hearing their stories, diving deeper into projects that are on, and then moving the conversations to how the first and third worlds can come together as one community to chart the course for the development of our world, which is indeed one world.

Nancy, it is happening in some ways!

I was delighted to take part in the Open Source Radio Show on Friday, where Chris Lydon hosted a show with Rebecca Mackinnon and Ethan at Global Voices (they've got an amazing collection of bridge blogs from all over the world), and several bloggers from Iran, Africa Singapore and India, sharing their blog stories. The show is available as a podcast on the Open Source blog. I spoke a little about how I started blogging, about Skype and how its changing how I communicate and about the tsunamihelp blog, in response to Chris's questions.

Its good to see that this year PopTech seems to have a more global representation of speakers. We must get more voices from all over the world into Worldchanging too!

Update: there's a nice discussion we're having at Nancy's post around how do we best learn to see from another perspective, be it man or woman, North American or Indian?

Do come and share your views on it ....

10:36:42 AM    comment []  trackback []