DonnaM » Blog Archive » Distributed discourse

Distributed discourse

I’ve been following the folksonomy discussion as well as is possible.

What struck me as interesting is completely unrelated to the topic of folksonomies or tags or classification or anything like that. What’s interesting is the way the discussion is being held.

‘Discussion’ is the relevant word here. Recent folksonomy posts seem to be a type of discussion – after all, many authors link to something that someone else has said, and oftentimes the post is in reaction to something that someone has said. Sort of looks like a discussion. Idea, counter, new idea, follow up…

However, when I really thought about it, what it actually looks like is quite different. It isn’t a discussion at all. Most of it (at least recently – the earlier discussions were not like this) seems to be a land grab. Most of the posts look like people standing on their little islands saying “hey, here’s this cool thing, let’s see if I can say the most profound thing about it. Over here. Pick me!”.

It is the islands that is the issue – there is no central discussion, no flow, no regular consolidation. It is all happening out there on isolated islands of blogs. A highly distributed discourse.

Now, I don’t mean to belittle the clever people who are thinking and writing about it, although some of this is going to be read this way. I’m more interested in the way the discussion is being held. That’s what’s interesting. It is sort of an extension to a post I wrote a few months back: Do we blog instead of discussing.

Whatever is happening, it is damn hard to follow.

One Response to “Distributed discourse”

  1. Alex Says:

    Another interesting thing is that talking about folksonomies (they’ve been around for yonks) wasn’t popular until someone came up with the expression ‘folksonomies’. I think the latest hordes of ‘discussion’ is more like stating the bleeding obvious. The blogdom really is that; either we’re discussing something (when there’s questions to be answered), or, if there really isn’t much to discuss, we state the bleeding obvious (‘I like it/hate it!’). Which is pretty obvious. Oooo, pick me!