Saturday, March 21, 2009

embrace the backchannel

The article below stuck in my craw as I prepared to present about using computer chat in a writing class. The presentation is now in less than a week, and everything I've written about it is due to be published directly. But the article struck a chord in me, partly because I know that a twittering audience is a kind of challenge to authority, a statement that each and every participant has something to say, even if all they want to say is "this is boring" or "you are talking too much."

To embrace the backchannel would be to essentially say, I believe you have something to offer; in the event that it is a link or something you could show us on the web, we should all be connected so we can all experience it. In the event that it's a question, sure, you should be free to ask it orally, but that's true anyway. If you don't agree with what I'm saying, fine, put it down, I may need some time to chew on it before I answer, but, at least there's a record (via twitter)and we can all participate, indirectly, in the question.

This is said by someone, me, who is notorious for getting caught up in hearing my own voice and saying what I am trying to say. It's not that I'm unaware of the audience. It's more that I'm ADD, can only concentrate on a couple of things at a time, and my mind is racing as I try to stay on track. Twitter would give me another track, which could be a disaster, but could, also, be beneficial for the whole presentation.

I have always made a habit of backing up my presentations completely, entirely, on the web. They're public. But they don't have "comments" sections. Comments can go here, or, better yet, via Twitter, perhaps a running dialogue. My twitter has been fairly undeveloped; I'm a little new at it. I'm still chewing on the possibility...

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