TCC08 Keynote: Social Networking, the “Third Place,” and the Evolution of Communication

Liveblogged during the keynote presentation by Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, New Media Consortium (NMC). My comments in italics.

Premise: Technology has not only mediated communication but that the very ways we communicate, including how we talk and think about communication, are changing.

Patterns of writing now aren’t the same as they were in the past. We communicate in small bursts of writing.

Constant communication across the globe–often having multiple levels of communication at the same time (chat + twitter + listening to Larry)

Communication is multimodal–images, text, avatars

Email is still essentially one-way prompt, then response. IM is much more conversational. But because of the lag in IM, you can have multiple conversations simultaneously.

Twitter is more like little news programs or channel surfing–tune in when you want to for those short bursts

When you send a handwritten letter, you expect a response within a week or so. With email, the response is expected within hours. With IM, it’s minutes. But we expect a little bit of “chat lag” because we know people may be doing multiple things at once.

With most of the technologies, you still never lose the sensation that you’re not really there. Virtual worlds change that there–you extend your physical presence into the 3D world. If you walk up to the camera in a video conference, no one else will back up, but if you avatar invades another avatar’s personal space, they will back up like they would in person.

Possibilities for bridging time, culture, and difference as communication evolves

Twitter is another paradigm changer because it’s a different kind of immediacy than virtual worlds

“Social proprioception”

Still important to know the cultural context of where people are physically.

It’s hard to detect nuance online, so we do things to add context like smileys–we create conventions to show that nuance

Concept of a Third Place

  • First place: Home
  • Second Place: Work
  • Third Place: where you unwind, hang out with friends, express yourself–increasingly, the Third Place is online

Twitter is controversial because it doesn’t really have an analog in traditional communication

An important aspect is how you represent yourself–profiles, avatars, etc.

Online spaces draw people online and keep people there because you can keep in touch with people you might not others stay in contact with. Someone in the chat said that’s like the modern town square

NMC survey showed that people made time for online tools by cutting their TV time–replacing a passive media with an active one

Evolution of Communication

Instant communication across the globe

Facebook & LinkedIn make it easy to keep in touch with people, including keeping a record of when we last had contact

Evolution is so rapid that is raises questions about nature of interaction and who we are as people


Is the nature of communication actually changing?

Why are people interested in online communication? Why do people spend time there instead of elsewhere?

Slides were basically a live photostream–almost no text. Very cool images.

The network increasingly organizes itself around people and less so around files and folders–connections are social, not just content

That sounds a lot like Siemens and Downes–connectivism

It’s not just that we have more opportunities for communication, but that it changes how we make connections. This affects how we think about teaching and learning too.

People who work in distributed fashions are already there; students learning online are there. But it’s not a bad thing that not everyone is there yet–we should understand it.

Continued with a lot of chat and questions–I participated in the backchannel conversation rather than blogging

Cynthia Calongne made a good comment about the richness of her online relationships. They are richer than the face-to-face relationships because these are people who share their thoughts and open their minds.

Larry said that virtual worlds have been very helpful for autistic individuals–can help to have different sensory experience than the ones that may cause problems in physical relationships

Read the other liveblogged posts from this conference.

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2 thoughts on “TCC08 Keynote: Social Networking, the “Third Place,” and the Evolution of Communication”

  1. Pingback: My History of Live Blogged Notes | Experiencing E-Learning

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