Back Channel

Unofficial/parallel thread of communication.

  • aka SnarkChannel

Used to be IRC, now Twitter.

Notes from 2003

Recently associated with use of Live Chat/IRC during a F2F meeting. But there are multiple Context-s possible:

  • during a Conference Call, to "pass a note" to someone without sharing it with everyone else

  • during a conference session: probably the "best" place - socializing generally within a context created by the conference, with people of similar interests, and with lots of opinions. Yet forced into a passive role.

    • meta question: given such an "audience", should the session format be changed?

    • I've often found conferences good for doing wider thinking about work issues: sometimes things are directly inspired by the session material, other times just by the overall mission of the conference. This is a form of "private time" (Slack) that gets lost if I'm in an IRC room. Like using your cellphone too much.

  • during a smallish "gathering of like minds" where there's lots of overlap of experience - like Clay Shirky's infamous Social Software Summit.

    • again, would interuptions and "passing the mike" be more appropriate? Or is it better to let a given speaker "finish a thought"?
  • university lectures: if students are helping each other track what the lecturer is talking about, that's a big win.

    • But does this reduce the odds of someone asking a question out loud, and maybe getting even better clarification direct from the source?
  • big business meetings, where people apparently don't need to be fully engaged at all times

    • why are so many people in the meeting? What the heck is the agenda? Should this meeting be happening at all?
  • small meetings - I can't see it working there.

LizLawley on the Ny Times article --BillSeitz, 2003/07/28 04:24 GMT
which is here

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