Brazilian blogger and researcher Jose Murilo Junior posts an interesting set of questions regarding how to enable effective remote participation at the upcoming Internet Governance Forum in Rio de Janiero in November. Jose references my thinking on this subject at the IGF in Athens last year. Here’s my new response to Jose: event blogging and a virtual world / mixed-reality event.
My full response after the jump…
Here are my two suggestions for how to proceed in Rio (synchronous and asynchronous): event blogging and virtual worlds.
While web forums and chats are lower bandwidth, they also tend to
benefit mostly the people who are physically at the event to help them
to take into account the views of others outside the room. They see a
bunch of text scrolling on the screen and a moderator pulls out the
best question out of the many submitted. But web forums and chats are a
poor substitute for the end user who really wants to FEEL like she is
participating in a discussion.
Instead, I think the explosion of the blogosphere around the world
points to blogging as the main means for people to contribute in an
asynchronous, individualized, and in-depth manner. A group blog set up
for the event, enabling people to post long questions, musings and
proposals and to respond to each other, is much more correspondent with
current internet culture and norms. Many active bloggers will merely
double-post their own thoughts on both their own personal blogs as well
as the Rio group blog, which should be welcomed and encouraged. Others
will engage in blogging for the first time, and thus feel empowered to
speak out on their issues.
Web forums tend to wither on the vine after an event is finished.
But initiating and aggregating a blogger discussion can have a much
longer shelf life and impact.
Meanwhile, virtual worlds deserve consideration for remote participation in Rio.
There are definitely new possibilities that would not have been
possible to imagine even a year ago. The growing internationalization
of Second Life (with Brazil and Japan being two of the fastest growing
segments) makes this particular virtual world a real possibility for
bringing in new, technically savvy voices on a real time basis. I would
argue that Second Life is the MOST accessible and participatory
technology currently available that most replicates the experience of
actually being at the event, particularly with real-time video and
Next year there may be other more open, web-enabled virtual worlds
that are better suited for the IGF. But for this upcoming event, Second
Life is actually the appropriate level technology, even with the
broadband and fast computer requirements.
Post to Jose’s blog if you would like to continue the discussion there.