if a backchannel exists in the woods....

This from the blog of danah boyd. It is worth following - idiosyncratic, sometimes too US-centric, but frequently original and insightful.


:: making connections where none previously existed


if a backchannel exists in the woods....

I'm sitting in a cafe trying very hard to frame blogs in Ong's terms and ignore the conversation next to me but i can't.  A woman is loudly talking, using her hands for emphasis;  the man next to her is leaning in and nodding and uh-huhing, saying confirming statements every few minutes.  They've been talking this way for a long time.  She's analyzing another woman, critiquing her view of the world, her actions, her attitudes.  She's looking for validation, offering stories to keep this guy paying attention. Finally, wrapped up in their conversation, i IM to Barb about it; she's sitting right next to me, pretending to blog but mostly chewing on her pen.  I find myself analyzing her analyzing this other woman.  Barb notes "you realize - we're the backchannel for their conversation."  And we both laugh.  My conception of backchannels is so biased by the primary discussion around it, whereby backchannels are a second front channel, a known presence of people with computers.    Do they know that we are their backchannel, the meta on their meta?  What does it mean that a perspective on their conversation is being recorded for posterity, only they will never know it.  Or will they?  What happens when strangers recognize digital records of their physical traces?  Ah, secondary orality.  I'm fascinated by moments when people don't realize the bridge between the digital and the physical.  My techno world is far too always techno. You know anything can and will be blogged.  But the rest of the world doesn't. As Barb notes, "it's no different from any other meta-gossip."  So what does it mean to blog about it, to meta meta it, to meta it beyond any realization of gossip?  There's a koan in here somewhere.

Dear Humanoid...

I have received this email from the BlogInSpace team. It's great to hear that my blog will soon be transmitted, but I am puzzled. What makes them assume the author of this blog is humanoid?

Dear Humanoid,

Thank you for signing up to have your blog sent into space. The first transmission is scheduled for the week of August 12, 2005. Your blog will be included in that transmission. We will be using a five meter parabolic dish antenna with redundant high-powered klytrson amplifiers to transmit the signal (that was for all the nerds out there). You will receive a confirmation email each time your blog is transmitted.

Until then please help us spread the word! We have added a new feature called Space Posts that allows non-bloggers to upload a one-time message. We all have friends that don't blog. We don't like them as much as people that do, but it's ok to still be nice to them and share stuff like this.

Check out our new homepage

We have also added a new animated flash badge for your site with easy to use links for the HTML challenged. Please support our free services by placing one of these badges on your site. Aliens think they are cool and you are less likely to be abducted if your blog is cool.


When the World Isn't Enough.

-The BlogInSpace Team

This blog transmits to space

This blog is now regularly transmitted to space, courtesy of Bloginspace.com, who say:

Aliens love blogs too!

Alien Blog IconSome 60 years ago humans first began transmitting television signals powerful enough to reach beyond our earth's atmosphere. Since then the media has continued to broadcast messages from I Love Lucy to the five o'clock news into space, potentially reaching intelligent alien life forms beyond our solar system. Blogs In Space is the first entity to allow everyday bloggers to transmit the news and thoughts of an everyday person into space. Simply put we take your feed and transmit it out on a powerful deep space transmission dish.

I look forward to hearing from our friends out there..... 


Sketch the connections...


Sketch the connections between your mind, your body, your computer and the network. Here's one example - see more. If you've made a drawing you'd like to be included, please scan it and email the file with a note of your name and location to me at sue.thomas@ntu.ac.uk.  If I like it, I'll add it!