Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The "Always-On" Unconference & Ad-Hoc Virtual Communities

My follow on post was originally going to talk about my first week at Kaboose, which I will likely get back to doing/finishing one day. (Update: It has been GREAT!)

But after being dragged into a the TorCamp Skype chat room (think IRC chat room), it got me thinking about the nature of real-time, ad-hoc, social-networking (birds of a feather two point oh). The feeling I get from the TorCamp chat room, which reminds me of the old school IRC chat rooms, is that of a sort of a "virtual unconferences." Perhaps its because I happen to know and have met most of the people in the room (all DemoCamp and TorCamp mailing list regulars). Or perhaps its just because of that fact that I know everyone in the room is available to chat via voice at a click of a button. (or maybe its just that I know everyone has a blog, and could be easily googled, and thus, having an assumed social profile online)

Either way, its pretty neat how a virtual chat room was spawned using an IM client, and had grown to something like 30-50+ people purely off invites from within the social network/skype-buddylist that started it. So far, its been up for around 24 hours and the chats are still going strong.

The chat room also reminds me of a lot of the unconference IRC back-channels that I was introduced to when I had the opportunity to attend the first Bloggercon (or might have been the first O'Reilly P2P conference [aka: Emerging Technology Conference] -- I can't remember).

Whats great about the skype conference rooms is that as soon as you log back in from being off line, all of the history gets forward to you -- so the room is truly persistent (unlike IRC). I feel like the only thing missing (and this is an idea I've been messing with/wanting to have for 4+ years now), is a way of providing a structured and open profile of each of the IM contacts.

In the same way that DemoCamp was a lightweight extension to TorCamp, the TorCamp "SkypeCamp" is a sort of a lightweight real time extension/bridge for the community to gather and connect. Regardless of how you look at it, it was great to reconnect with the local tech community. Esp. as we are now looking for NEW PEOPLE for BubbleShare (read: Ruby Developers, Flash Gurus, IAs/UX peeps, please email me). =)

On a slightly different note, DemoCamp12 will mark DemoCamp's 1st Birthday since David Crow and I and many others got together at the BubbleLabs. As David mentioned here, BubbleShare will be doing a demoing a "v2.0" of BubbleShare.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately it's not quite true that in Skype Chat "as soon as you log back in from being off line, all of the history gets forwarded to you". Only what was said by the people currently logged in gets forwarded to you. That to me is a fatal flaw and the reason I was one of the people keen to switch to Campfire.