But back to the point: a long time ago I used to write online to a ton (like 30) of faceless, nameless people who used to laugh and possibly email me about how funny they thought it was. I was just goofing off, I wasn’t too concerned about offending anyone if I could make something funny.
I think a lot of first adopters really rallied around blogs. It was like a second home to people. Everyone likes to have communities and places where everyone is respectful, interesting, and “where everyone knows your name.” It was kinda like your own secret special place, and a twinge of ‘coolness’ because it was esoteric.
But inevitably, once a community gets so popular that there becomes an influx of newbies that have no respect for the painstaking community and culture for the medium that had built up over time. The general disrespectfulness of these newbies ends up chasing away the very people that made it special in the first place. Same thing happened on IRC and Usenet that happened in the blogosphere.
Vox is a return to that early time I don’t think most people had a chance to experience. The commercialization of blogs has, I think, skewed people’s perception of what they can be. To many, if you’re not doing 50,000 unique visitors a day you should just throw in the towel, you’re a failure. If your funny story about shopping at the Apple store can’t be Digg’d or Boingboing’d then what good is it?
I wonder where the next playground of the first adopters will be? Somewhere where they can coalesce, create connections, and encourage each other to dream and to make. Likely, it will be through the introduction of a new media, as demonstrated by historical patterns.
First BBSes, then Usenet, and IRC. Then forums, and then blogs.
What will the new medium be like? I can imagine a couple things (though by no means accurate).
One might be the lowered barrier of making things, something like open source design. People with shared passion of making and creating things will be able to make connections and communicate with each other through making things.
Second might mix the internet and reality, where strangers gather for some cause, whether this cause is deliberate or emergent from the groups’ decisions. These decisions might come from people that aren’t even there, whose names they don’t know.
I’m imagining something like people are able to view the positions of all those that are participating, on a map. Then they’re able to vote and come to agree to where to gather, and what the goal is. Then those that are by the site get notified, and can spontaneously partcipate if they wish. Much like flashmobbing, but less deliberate.
Then, the ability for strangers to discuss or exchange what they did might build a community.
However, I can see how something like this could be used for evil, like sending a mob to various sections of streets in guise, where it is meant to block off roads to help a bank robbery or heist.
And yet, it’s a neat idea. Emergent cooperation organized by the net that mixes with reality. It’s another way for people to interact outside of their defined roles and places in society.