Once you get beyond the conversation, what’s there? For each aspect or rather in each of it’s iterations, there will always be a result or an action. Conversations, regardless of the network they are swimming in, have to have some causal net result. If not, then it’s one big dinner party or bar, where the conversations have no substance, and we all go home and wake up in the morninh with a headache and ask what happened.
There is a great discussion about this exact subject going on in a few places that I would encourage you to visit. Over at Valeria Maltoni’s site the conversation agent, Valeria has always maintained that it was always about the outcomes of the conversation. And she cites numerous sources that in one way or another support this premise. I couldn’t agree more. You have to do something with the conversations that you have participated in. There has to be an outcome. Unless of course, you converse just to hear yourself speak.
But see, the difference is that in this Web 2.0 age, our conversations take on many different forms. We reach out to have these conversations in many forms and in each form, the effort on our part is the push and we want the pull from the other party. But the conversations may have a tinge of self aggrandizement unfortunately, and that’s where we might be missing the point. I think that these days people are realizing that some of the conversations may be disingenous. It’s the dirty little secret of the social-ness of what we are all participating in. Its the nature of the fluidness of social. It’s way too easy to start the conversation and it’s way too easy to manipulate the conversation in your favor. But most of us are hip to that and I think it eventually sorts itself out. We’re able to police that part fortunately.
What happens next in each aspect is covered as well by David Armano with another one of his wonderful graphic representations in which David essentially asks… We’ve identified all the different mechanisms and networks and tools to bring forth the dialogue and raise the level of everyone’s voice beyond the tinge of a whisper so, “What next?”.
You see in each “property” in the above graphic, conversations are and have been taking place. But what comes of them? Here is a quick example. Do we blog because we want to hear and read what we speak and write about respectively? No, we do it because we essentially want to talk and we want to be heard, and we want to engage others in a dialogue. Problem is, and I’ve noticed that perhaps this one tiny aspect is often overlooked- in order to be heard and in order to converse on or in a blog platform, it does not happen immediately. It takes work, and it takes effort, and I think to a large degree, most people underestimate that. Thus they abandon the endeavor. Do we need to make it even easier to be heard and engage others? Is it still to intimidating and difficult to join in the conversation?
The outcomes of conversations in each of David’s properties all predicated on various barriers of entry. Some not as great as others, but each still requires some effort in order to be heard. Do people want to work at their conversations? I don’t think so, but in each example, conversations and the endeavor of enagaging in them is not a passive activity. never has been, unless you like to lurk.
Another aspect often overlooked in the online social world, is that there is still the aspect of engagement. Type “A”‘s might still have an easier time of engagement than type “B”s. We still have to look at easing the transitions for N00bs. Once they are engaged in the conversation, they may be ok. But then we all come back around to the beginning. And we ask ourselves, “Now what?” “What comes of this?”
Seth Godin started an invite only social network called triiibes that was tailored to his forthcoming book. There are roughly 3000 people in this network and conversations abound. The problem is, I have to think, and do, that all the people in the network are in the “take” mode. A network where everyone is looking for, according to Steve Bridger’s comments to David, “what’s in it for me” can’t be very productive, or maybe it is? Conversations have to be equally 2 way, if not, they’re not called conversations, they’re called monologues. They have to have something more to them in each web 2.0 scenario. That’s what Valeria and David are getting at. We have all these tools, so now what? What do we do with all the various ways that we now have to communicate with each other. Perhaps a Conversation Manifesto is in order?