In his responses to the piece on Myspace For Grownups, Taka gets to the heart of the matter with this.
This raises an interesting question about what a relationship exactly is. I subscribe to several blogs where the author reveals a lot of personal details about themselves and their inner thoughts. Yet I've never commented on their blog, nor are they aware that I'm reading. I know more about them than I do some of my closest friends! Are we having a relationship?
People blog about their marriage, divorce, illnesses, death of child, so if I've been through a similar thing, isn't that our common experience? What's the difference between going to a support group in real life and meeting a bunch of strangers who have been through the same thing as I have?
Knowing that much about me does not constitute a relationship, it may even be stalking. For a relationship to exist there has to be some symmetry, not just of information/ knowledge, but of deliberate exchange. For there to be a relatrionship both you and I have to be interested in exchanging information.
So, posting a blog is essentially a general invitation to converse. Leaving a comment or a trackback on someone's blog is an acceptance of that invitation, my response confirms that we both find eaxch other's ideas interesting, or at least worth debating.
After a while we feel confident enough to take that process further. Taka buys me and my daughter lunch in Melbourne, I call Jon H and ask if I can crash on his sofa when I pass through Vancouver, Branedy sends me some information that would uncloak his identity, Johnnie Moore wangles me an ticket to a conference he is contributing to, Euan Skypes me to tell me that he's hot as hell in the London desert.
Those, to me are relationships on which I can build as circumstances arise that permit it. Johnnie points to Juri Engstrom as the coiner of a label for the items of exchange, "Ooze"
Object of Sociability [OoS, or "Ooze" for short]? "Ooze" is simply something that allows you to engage with another person. It could be anything. It could a party. It could be a bottle of wine. It could be a hyperlink. It could be a social gesture. It could be social currency. It could be doodling a cartoon on the back of a business card at a bar and giving it to the cute barmaid. You tell me.
Online relationships, of necessity, are constructed by the exchange of information Ooze in more or less the same way that molecules relate.
In physical terms, a molecule is an assemblage of atoms bound together by an exchange of electrons in a discrete way governed by quantum mechanics.
I don't see how the exchange of electrons "binds" atoms into molecules any more than I can say why or how the exchange of information builds relationships. But it seems to work. And the more intense that exchange of information, the stronger the relationship appears to become, at least up to a plateau.
But the most important part is the exchange, not the information. Which brings me back to scaffolds; once we have the relationship, the specific information that we used to build it can be dropped, lost, forgotten or filed away; in fact trying to maintain a relationship by constantly returning the Ooze will undermine and eventually destroy it.
Now, all I have to do is get my head around Brane's comment on Authorities. Maybe not tonight mate, my Brane isn't up to it.