January 31, 2007

Social Drama or the "Jazzification" of the Web

One of my favorite Canadians, Jon Husband is posting chapters of a book that he says he'll never write, but appears to be doing just that in front of our eyes, for all to read and comment on. Tres cool.

Jon recently expanded on my Social Drama post with his thoughts, offering clarification on what I might have meant, which wasn't so clear to me then (and still fades in and out now). He says:

What I have inferred is that we will have much to learn, unlearn and relearn about what being social is all about, and we will never again do it without the always-just-available email or voicemail or blogging or MySpace page or LinkedIn profile and digital identity protection requirements and .. and .. and ...

Oh, of course some people will eschew the use of the the Web and its tools and services, refusing to be prisoners of a by-and-large reductive and tautological medium, and we will never transcend the sociality of life behind the doors of our home or the relationships with neighbours or work colleagues who become lifelong friends ... but presumably 'social drama " will be redefined in this new hyperlinked context.

Yes, precisely, Social Dramas are being played out on the Web, but are not possible without the merging of our online and offline selves.

In fact, they are the result of just that. They urge us to take on new personas -- outside of pre-constructed intravironments like Second Life, where identity rebirth is expected -- to explore who we are across the web, and even who we are not -- then play out those roles here and there and there and there, doing so through improvisational story lines connected through hyperlinks and a shared creative sense.

Social dramas happen online only in collaboration with others or the co-story-telling would be impossible.

They are always the inverse of punditry and postulating. They are not commentary, they are complementary.

It is musical, you see?

Online social dramas are improvisational jazz, played with words, the story carried across and throughout venues -- sites -- sustained through the hyperlinking of chords and melody. The resulting piece is written over time, and is presented as it is written -- the listening ear piecing it together with delight at the end of every measure--or at least that's the goal. Auditory conception. Immaculate--no way.

What social drama is NOT, using the musical analogy, is Miles reincarnated as a red-sweatered avatar playing a concert within Second Life. Rather, it's Miles alright, playing every note he ever played everywhere at once for everyone ear and heart across a connected web.

At least, that's the goal. And admission's free.

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