Supporting and Advancing Online Dialogue: May 7-27, 2007

Who is the audience?

Who is the audience?

by Emma Duke-Williams -
Number of replies: 1
I've decided to start a new thread, as that last one was getting quite long, and drifting.

I've been thinking about the comments that I've made about blogs, and the responses from both Ron & Sylvia.

From what I've read so far, we've talked about the facilitation, but not necessarily who the audience is.

That, to me, makes a *huge* difference. If we're looking at a social community, no-one has to be there; the moderators may be experts at whatever, but they may have been chosen by the site owner as they're her friends, she knows that they know lots about whatever, or perhaps because they know comparatively little about the subject matter, but they're great peacemakers & negotiators.

If, on the other hand, we have an "educational" setting, to start with, the members either have to be there - as it's part of their course, or they've joined for professional development etc. Often the owner is perceived as being an "expert" - especially in the case of course related groups.

I've recently read an article about Trolls on Communities - http://www.informationweek.com/shared/printableArticle.jhtml?articleID=199600005 - This isn't a problem I've had with student based groups (possibly because they know I'm going to give them a grade at the end of the session!), but I have seen it in a couple of social based groups (forum & email list) that I moderate/ am a part of. Again, I suspect the voluntary nature of social based groups makes a difference.

In reply to Emma Duke-Williams

Re: Who is the audience?

by Sylvia Currie -
Great question, and as a side note, one thing I've noticed in SCoPE discussions is that participants often emerge as facilitators and feel comfortable bringing elements that get buried in long windy threads into a new fresh space. It's fantastic. approve

The audience in discussions like this is often invisible. We have evidence that there are many (many!) people reading along through our "guest" access to SCoPE. Then there's the RSS option which is extra invisible! Sometimes there are conversations springing up elsewhere that refer back to a seminar in SCoPE that give us clues of a more widespread audience. Here's an example from the Knowing Knowledge seminar.