Streams vs Spaces

This is just a little background on what I meant by "I think I’ve found a ‘structure’ I can live with" that I mentioned in my last post.

For the longest time, I’ve been frustrated with blog formats (which is why I drive people nuts with changing my site so much because I like exploring and experimenting with different things). Therefore instead of the typical blog format, I’ve instead been searching for a format that focused more on a "spaces" approach (i.e. rooms, etc) because different spaces allowed for different forms of social interaction. In effect, each room or environment that we step into in the real world, changes how we socially interact with others. In a business environment, we may be speak professionally, not letting our emotions show. Yet in the back corner of a quite cafe, we may express our deepest emotions to a good friend. And even more so, in a night club environment we may speak and behave wildly different with others, as we let go of a lot of the things that may hold us back from expressing ourselves fully. Therefore each environment provides a different social context to interact within and will change how we outwardly express ourselves.

Now here’s what I just realized though. My website here is not so much a "space" but instead is more an extension of myself. Specifically an extension of my thoughts and interests. As others like Dave Winer have pointed out, it is more like a conversation "river". Yet within this river are streams of focused conversations on specific topics of interest. That is the approach that I’ve finally decided upon and will go forward with. One of the main benefits of this approach is that it will allow me to feel like a "whole" person because my one conversation "river" will switch from various stream topic categories. Therefore I might talk about technology one post, culture another, and then computer gaming in the next. In effect, this allows me to relay my full identity, not just a single fragment or facet of it.

And yet the greatest strength of this approach, its wholeness, is also possibly its greatest weakness. A lot of people today are not interested in knowing everything about a person which is why most bloggers recommend having a very focused topic niche for your blog. Instead they recommend creating different sites. I, for some reason, just can’t do this. I’ve tried and I keep feel like I’m fragmenting myself so that people only see certain sides of me to the point of being stereotyped. In addition, I find separate sites a really complex approach for maintaining my conversations, as I’d rather have everything in one location. Therefore, at the very least, if I provide "categories" for my journal, or as I like to call them "topic streams", people can then so choose to follow only a single conversation stream instead of having to listen to everything I have to say.

Of course, in closing, the hilarious thing here is that the format I’ve now chosen is very similar to the default blogging format that many people use today. In a sense, I’ve come full circle. Believe me though, I still don’t think it’s perfect. I’ve got a few other ideas that I’d like to experiment with but due to the approach I’ll be taking, this experimentation "shouldn’t" alter my current structure but hopefully will instead work with it.