Powazek on the Super Friends

Well, sort of. {You must read on for the connection.} I’m reading Design for Community right now (among many others)…

…and I’m acutally just borrowing it from a friend, so I’ll probably be making a lot of notes to myself in this space. Although now I see it’s only 9 clams used on Amazon I might just pick it up for future reference. Anyway, it’s really good, and I’m saying that already and I’m not out of the introduction yet.

He says some really good things about community in the intro that a lot of the christian online pundits could listen to, especially the “postmodern” ones. I’ll get to that quote in a minute, first a good one about the web that I will have to use in my forthcoming argument for blogs.

pg xxi The web was revolutionary (and still is) because it does one thing that no other media has been able to do, ever. The web grows communities, almost without trying, because the web is the only media that allows its users to communicate with each other directly, publicly, and instantly.

Other media have glimmers of that connection, but none so successful or meaningful. Newspapers publish letters to the editor. Radio has call-in shows. Television has, well, Jerry Springer. All of these contain a hint of what is possible when you let users of your media communicate directly with each other. But the web makes direct user-to-user communication a reality. Because, on the web, the device you usually use to view it is the same device you need to create it.</i>

{Notes to meself re: blogging: 1. it is for yourself 1a. processing 1b. practice writing 1c. diary, personal history 2. public nature of it 2a. does not mean you need to pundicize at all times 2b. just means it is a public record 2c. helps hone 2d. helps microcommunication between friends and aquaintences 2e. builds community within the same.}

Ok, sorry anyone hooked by the Super Friends title and still reading. Here it is. Powazek on Community:

Members of a community will identify themselves with the community when they feel strongly connected to it. But slapping a community label on an unwitting individual will usually be met with annoyance or worse.

When I want to sell my old camera or buy a new book, I’ll visit sites such as eBay or Amazon. In these cases, I’m just there for a transaction, not a conversation. Yet both these sites have generous community features, and both brag about their communities to their stockholders and the press.

And while it’s true that some of eBay’s users feel strongly connected to the site, simply going there to sell my old stuff doesn’t really make me a community member, any more than using a can opener makes me a member of the exclusive can-opening community.</i>

That was it. Sorry if it was anti-climatic, but I found it both illuminating and funny and I immediately thought of the Super Friends.

{More to meself re blogging: It therefore doesn’t matter if you have 5, 50, 500 or 5000 visitors a week. Such a numbers mentality is really missing the point (and not just to blogging, either). It is actually better to be small. (Like Powazek said somewhere; can’t find it right now.) Big blows community. And that is what irks me so much about Andrew Sullivan’s pledge drive. He is capitalizing unnecessarily. He has a job as a writer. He simply sees this thing as another $$ opp. He’s no better and often worse than all the bloggers I read, and yet many of them continue without asking for money, many of them jobless on top of that. And they are doing it for the right reasons. Eventually, hopefully, the pure, the authentic, will win, and the pundicizing pledge drivers will be ignored into oblivion.}


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