SansBlogue  
Friday, September 26, 2008
  Centripetal and centrifugal Internet communication
Life comes from the tension of opposing "forces". Or at least liveliness does (and I suspect a good case could be made for my opening statement - I'm just too lazy, and busy, to make it this morning). Internet communications are frustrating and enlivening because of just such a tension. I have been having a cluster of "conversations" over (or under?) my morning coffee:
Photo by Steve from Geograph
  • by email and/or Flickr messages with photographers whose work I have taken and used in slides for a sermon I preached which was videoed for a CareyMedia DVD. These are people I don't know, may never communicate with again, though they have enriched my life and work, so it is nice to thank them as well as prudent to ensure we have their permission (Does a CC no-commercial use license allow a non-profit sale of a work - my sermon - that includes the licensed image - in a slide?)
  • on MSN (using Pidgin so that I could also potentially chat with one of you on Yahoo without yet another app open) with my son in the Isle of Man about his application for a job in Kenya encouraging microenterprise
  • on Facebook with Jim West, about the mysterious disappearance sometimes of the identifications Oxford or Cambridge from the officers of SOTS online - I thought it was something to do with proteraenvy by those associated with "the other place", but apparently it is merely Facebook being "helpful"
  • among the comments on my blog with Bob McD, about Hebrews' use of the Hebrew Bible
The centrifugal impetus of the web is evident in the simple fact of these conversations, none of the participants (except Tirau Dan) occupies the same hemisphere as me, yet we are drawn on the web into contact. (Notice that oddly in cyberspace - to use the archaic but descriptive term - I am the centre to which conversation is drawn ;)

This sort of experience - and yours I suspect was similar but different - is a bit like sitting in the Carey staff room, with three conversations at once ranging from the mundane to the sublime and back again. But in the staffroom the conversations intertwine, and participants from one or the other move and realign. On the Internet they remain separate, only meeting in me, this is the centripetal tendency in Internet communication. Since "I" (and you, of course, dear reader, are also "I") am the centre the conversation is fragmented.

Ah, well, play time is over, it is 8:30 and time to start work...

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