Friday, February 11, 2011

A meander

Having closed off  ANZ, IBM & freedom of speech, I have done one final update to let Graham Young have the last word. His comment came in comment 30 on Tertiary boycotts, online civility and agreeing to disagree.

Graham's comment finishes by distinguishing between blogs that are "salons” whereas on-line opinion is a “public square”. It's actually a nice distinction, one that I wanted to record for future use.

Triggered by a comment from Ramana on a different matter, I looked back over some of my recent posts. While much of my writing has an Australian focus, after all I live here, I used to consciously try to write so that material was accessible to a broader audience. I seem to have drifted away from that.

With some material, the on-line opinion case is a good example, it's actually quite difficult to write in a broadly accessible way. The specific details that interest the main protagonists and that drive the ebb and flow of a fast moving on-line debate held in real time are usually far too arcane to be of immediate interest to those outside the tent.

Yesterday in Mapping the on-line controversy I mentioned Mapping Online Publics. For the benefit of international readers, this is an academic site is concerned with mapping patterns and relationships in the on-line world. It has an Australian focus, but includes international material. As an example of their work see Twitter Events in Perspective, an examination of traffic centred on a number of specific  #hashtags including #wikileaks.

Again, some of their material will seem arcane. However, for those of interested in the way the internet actually works, it's quite valuable.

I think the main conclusion I draw from this short meander is the need to be aware of both the purpose to be served in writing and of the audience for that writing.

My own responses to the on-line controversy were quite mixed. By responses I mean both the way I reacted at a personal level and my reason for writing.

I started with a summary of the things that I thought were important, then as events unfolded I got somewhat swept along; the dispute between the protagonists - the clash of views - became the main interest; to a degree, this was theatre of the blogosphere, but a very Australian theatre. I was in the audience. Finally, I ended up more or less where I began, interested in the general issues and lessons, if with a broader focus than when I started.

None of this helped clarity.

I think that that is enough introspection for this morning. I have things to do!       

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