Users Confused About Blogs

This is an interesting article which, I think, once again points out that the general public is used to the broadcast model. The executive summary of this study (available here as PDF) states that "the design of most blogs can incite “net rage” (in the words of one test participant)." It goes on to say that "blogs need to meet a different standard of behavioral requirements and expectations if they are to succeed with the mainstream internet audience." I don't think blogs need to meet any standards of "behavioral requirements." Once again, we're making the same mistake: the technology, so the argument goes, needs to be adapted to who we are. No. It's the other way around. As McLuhan, de Kerckhove, and many others never tire of pointing out, it is the technology that changes our ways of perceiving reality, it reconfigures our minds. Most of us are still stuck in the linear mode imposed upon us by print. As we continue to immerse ourselves in the electronic world around us, what now seems alien will gradually become second nature. We are still obsessed with the broadcast model. Every encounter with information is characterized by receptivity, not interaction. We tend to listen and not speak. (Stephen Downes talks about it here - he says that we must learn this new language, and begin to speak and not just listen, that we must adopt the open, conversation model.)

The participants in this study are used to seeing the world around them (especially writing) as a collection of lineally constructed "truths," but what they need, what we all need to acquire is the kind of perception that reflects the kaleidoscopic and multi-centred world around us. What we need, in other words, is to ensure that education becomes spherical and acoustic rather than linear, that it focuses on discovery rather than compartmentalization of data. When that happens, we will no longer expect to see articles instead of blog entries or wiki pages. These open channels of communication will become a natural part of the acoustic, omnidirectional world of individual voices.

It's all about acoustic vs visual space.

The link above points to a document I composed at the very beginning of my graduate work at OISE/UT. It's a bit outdated but conveys the point well (I think).