For months I’ve been saying that Facebook is the next AOL – a gated community that works for a while, but ultimately can’t be open enough to sustain prominence. This is probably true of MySpace, too… at the moment, both systems are growing and capturing mindshare… will this last?
I haven’t mentioned it here yet but earlier this week I signed on to be an anchor member of Montreal’s own Station C co-working space. In the old days, there were desk-rental outfits where people could, for a small fee, go and work back when working at home was not respectable or even possible for most people.
Co-working is different than that. Co-working is explicitly about not only the facilities themselves but the community using the facilities as well. I’ve been discussing this idea with one the founders of Station C, Patrick Tanguay for several years now, and I’m really excited that he and and Daniel Mireault have managed to get Station C off the ground. And even more, that they have succeeded in landing a prime location and doing a top-notch job in terms of furnishings and recruiting. Judging by the list of people I know who will be joining us, it’s going to be a fantastic crew.
Journalist Mark Glaser, host and editor of MediaShift, has published a fantastic post: Traditional Media Ready to Elevate the Conversation Online. It’s all about how the so-called mainstream media has been trying to adapt to a media environment in which discussion and audience commentary is ubiquitous. It turns out there is starting to be a bit of a consensus around best practices, though these are far from universal yet.
I haven’t yet blogged about one of the most significant things I’ve been involved with on the net for a while: the move of the Café Utne to a new organization and a new server: The New Café. The Café is an online community that opened in 1995 and in the move, we moved over the entire archive of almost 6.5 Million posts over to the new server. There’s quite a bit of work to do yet – branding, capacity-building, and such, but that’s in the hands of a very capable General Manager so I expect all to go well in the coming weeks, months, and years.
and busy or high-profile websites: High volume flow. This is a problem with weblogs in general. Everyone has been touting them as the next generation in online community, which is true, but not because of the comments sections, though ironically this is the feature that most resembles traditional online communities such as the Well or Cafe Utne. The weblog world is community-like because of the give-and-take between and among “peer” weblogs via links-and-commentary posts, and it is in that respect that the weblog world is and encourages online community. The existence or not of the ability to comment has little to do, in my opinion, with the community-ness of weblogs.
The solution to the problem is simple and has existed for much longer than weblogs have existed: old-school online communities such as those mentioned above, with mandatory registration, active, consistent moderation, and persistent membership over time such that individuals have a social motivation to behave.