We attend conferences for the conversations, among other experiences. Through conversation, we create a common ground from which we can explore the issues and problems of our professions and practice, as well as potential solutions. Conversation is the engine for work, for community, for decision-making, and for collaboration. However, the conversations we have at conferences are ephemeral. If we could find a way to make the conversations persistent, what effect would that have on our ability to construct knowledge collectively?
We tend to think of a virtual space as some sort of alternate electronic analog for face-to-face, as a replacement location when the physical is not available. Given the evolution of increasingly sophisticated social software and of the social architecture that can manage its effective uses, we might realize significant advantages if we think of virtual spaces as interwoven or intertwined with face-to-face experiences in equal partnership. The combination may augment the benefits of each—through complementarity (the strengths of each compensate for the weaknesses of the other) and synergy (the joining creates properties that did not exist when the experiences were separate).
Christina's LIS Rant by Christina K. Pikas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
Christina Kirk Pikas
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