Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Lonesome tonight?

A great story (forwarded by Adam White) about loneliness and cyberspace:

The Guardian, 30 August, 05


At 11:38 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

That's most interesting. From my perspective, I've seen that sequence of development happen in many forums.

Phase 1) A core group of people meet, frequently by an accidental phrase or similar, and begin to converse about a particular concept or theme.

Phase 2) People interested in related concepts or themes stumble onto the original debate by accident and become involved.

Phase 3) The conversation becomes noticed in the wider web for some reason, and is suddenly deluged in people who have no connection to the original conversation or even conversational mode.

Phase 4) If there are more new arrivals than original posters still active, the impromptu core group disbands further and the conversation fades, or moves to a different more privately controlled venue.

I've seen that happen on everything from game-related forums through to technical chats and fan-sites.

Does that look familiar to anyone else? It had never occurred to me that the pattern might be endemic across forums (fora? forii?)

Also, the idea of people typing "I am lonely" into google is intriguing , sad and slightly unsettling all at the same time. And I don't mean sad in the pejorative sense. I think the article hit it on the head when they described that people were opening themselves to the web in an almost oracular way. I wonder what Sherry Turkle would say about all this...

- Kevin.


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