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Mickipedia » Webvisions – The New Community: How Decentralized Conversation Empowers Individuals while Creating Community

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Mickipedia » Blog Archive » Webvisions – The New Community: How Decentralized Conversation Empowers Individuals while Creating Community

Derek Powazek’s Webvisions talk was awesome and touched on a lot of things I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

Community used to be defined by location, affiliation, or membership. But today, the Internet is fostering a giant network of interconnected communitites, most without any central authority. What happens when communities form and no one’s in charge?

This session will outline the ways decentralized community tools (social bookmarks, participatory media, free APIs, blogs and tagging) are enabling spontaneous communities of interest to form, and how they’re changing traditional notions of community, media, identity, and relationships.
Working the web since 1995, Derek Powazek is the creator of many award-winning websites, a couple of which still exist. Derek’s claims to fame include designing the Blogger “B”, the Technorati look and feel, moderating the first-ever panel at SXSW about blogs in 2000, writing a book about the design of social spaces online called “Design for Community,” and cofounding JPG Magazine, the quarterly of brave new photography. Derek lives in San Francisco with his wife, two nutty Chihuahuas, a grumpy cat, and a house full of plants named Fred.
Notes from session:

• giant network of interconnected communities – w no one in charge
• communities happen when ppl have the ability to use their voice in a public and immediate way, forming intimate relationships over time.
• web2.0 – community on the web is increasingly dispersed — city to suburbs
• large, decentralized conversation – blogging back and forth, etc.
• moving out of authoritarian community sites toward maintaining our own blog or hub in the global conversation
• how do we find eachother?
• 2nd area of community online will be defined on the services that connect ppl
• connective tissues (comments, trackbacks, tags, APIs RSS, technorati, photoblogs.org, bloglines, ORblogs)
• boinboing stopped allowing comments — only bloggers can participate by posting on their own site – changes the quality of the conversation. nobody wants to grafitti their own house.
• memes — proof that ppl are coming together over dispersed community (four things, whiskerino, which buffy character are you?)
• pros of dispersed community – self-ownershiop, no one can turn you off, more human-scale, fewer bozos, nobody graffitis their own house
• cons – no one’s in charge, no moderators, hard to converge, difficult tools
modern company towns:
• flickr – one community manager, more ways to get your photos out of flickr than in, API interfaces, blog them, export them, etc. , profile page — flickr doesn’t own the member. they have a place for you to link to your own site, etc.
• youtube – blog this video, contribution culture
• myspace, friendster, vox, livejournal – private ways to say somethign just to your friends (Right now, when we post online, we post for everyone. in real life, we wear diff hats in diff situations. Posting for everyone will be a historical anomoly.)
• we dont control company towns – if the servers go down, you lose your apt.
WHAT THIS MEANS
• Treat your community well. Because they’ll leave if you don’t.
• OK to be a company town but don’t act like THE MAN. there are a lot of choices online.
• Go to where your community is. You can’t create community. If you’re lucky, your community will let you come visit. (JPG Magazine, Flickr, TiVo community)
• If you’re lucky, you can provide a set of tools and ppl will come together around it and start to feel like a community on their own.
• decentralized community better bc it mirrores real commuinty
• move toward a community affiliation life cycle: grow up in your parents house, move out to buy your own — switching your blog from blogger to wordpress — we are growing up online.
• blogs have forced company towns to interact w the rest of the world.
• nowhere to go but up.

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Filed under: locative, new media, research, social, space/place, technology

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