The third blogwalk meeting, about weblog networks, went well. It was different from the last two times: more people, less overlap in who knew eachother before. A number of people signed up for the meeting at the last moment, but that worked out nicely too. The meeting was sort of a warm-up for BlogTalk the two-day conference. This had the effect that the group was more international, with some North Americans attending as well.
We took more time getting to know each other, and thus the first part the day was less focussed than I had expected. Nevertheless the group seemd to need it so I tried not to interfere much in my moderating/facilitating role, and just go with the flow. Lunch, the afternoon walk (for both of which Siegfried joined us) was good after which we continued at the venue again. We rounded off with a group discussion which helped a lot in making the earlier conversations more concrete and create more explicit questions and answers.
Several things I took away from this meeting are:
Getting from ideas to action in bloggers-networks might be difficult in part because it is a phase-transition of sorts from emergent pattern forming towards planned and controlled execution of steps. Blogs certainly aren’t made for the latter, and although we integrate multiple channels of communication in our blogs already we aren’t quite used to make that switch, at least not seemless. That is can be done of course is proven by BlogWalk itself.
Also network forming might benefit from being able to determine in a more nuanced way what is public and what is more private/closed. This now to a large extent is a binary thing. It’s all in the open, or shielded behind the firewall. Being able to define different levels of publicness or privacy might be a step towards helping facilitate the phase-shift mentioned above.
One action also came out of this blognetwork-get-together. Piers Young (thanks for coming Piers!), Lilia Efimova and I decided to start a little work on personal knowledge management. I am looking forward to get going with that.
Blogwalkers on the balcony. Photo by JJ Merelo
Martin Roell and I at the end of the meeting had a little chat on the balcony and found that we were somewhat disappointed by the (lack of) outcome. I think we were expecting a bit too much, and also spoilt by the previous meetings, especially the first one in Enschede where we got into very deep discussions from the get-go. Also we, illogically, expected to be able to continue and build upon earlier BlogWalk conversations and results. That of course was impossible, as this was a different group altogehter. During a pleasant conversation with Lee Bryant the next day over beers, he proposed that if you want to create that effect it might be a good idea to do some pre- and post-discussion and also try and capture more of the results from the discussions. Create artefacts as it were, so that we leave trails of our efforts. I will certainly spend some time thinking about that in the coming weeks, as this is also important to the question how we want to continue on as a series. Not all meetings can be arranged like this by Lilia, Sebastian and me.
All in all a great day. We had positive feedback of a lot of the participants, and Markus Breuer made my day, as Eric Ras did in Nuremberg, by saying that it was an extremely informal day that however took very intense concentration all the time. That is precisely what I like these BlogWalks to be. Informal, but very much challenging and inspiring.
Special thanks go to Thomas Burg for arranging the venue, even though he was organising a conference himself, and to Tom F�rstner for providing the venue and at the same time joining in our conversations. Thanks also to all that were present:
A slew of people to add to the feed reader!