Dec 23 2006

How long is our collective “now”?

An important question that frames many others in evaluating an event is “How long is our collective ‘now’?” or, in other words, are we evaluating a one-off event that’s over and done with or are we evaluating a moment in the course of a longer relationship?

There are risks when you assume that the context is a longer relationship than is really the case. People may be offended by the assumption or its apparent consequences. At the CIRN conference in Prato last October, Patricia Arnold, Beverly Trayner and I appeared to be assuming too much familiarity.

But it occurs to me that one of the issues in the feedback people were giving to Nancy White was that they were assuming that there was no future relationship involved. But one of the ways that technology changes face-to-face events is that it allows for relationships to begin sooner and continue later. (And that holds both for relationships between the “audience” and the speaker as well as within the group of people formerly known as “the audience.” So I would add to Nancy’s suggestions in onlinefacilitation that asking people whether and to what extent their connections with each other developed in a face-to-face event (conference, workshop, or meeting) is something that’s important to include.

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