This is a reaction to the wave Google Wave a Thought or a Website? started by Brian Cloward which is a particularly interesting example of what is possible in terms of dialog within the wave environment.
I just read most of this wave, which I find interesting. The premise is that Waves are like thoughts and are different from other new media they try to integrate. It is an interesting analogy. Especially for someone like me interested in philosophy, see think.net or search for the thinknet key word in the public waves.
I have been struggling with the chat like nature of Waves. See my blog page on this.
If you look at the Phenomenology or the Husserl waves you will see that I tried to label the content I was adding. I also started to tag the waves I created and added wikipedia links to help people who had no idea what the esoteric subjects were about.
My model is not a thought, but a subject area. You will see that many waves are about random questions or disciplines. My idea as with email lists previosly is to make the waves centered on an author or a recognized subject that people might share in common. Also I have always believed in grouping these together to form a community which I have called here thinknet. So my analogy is what I have done on my email lists from the start, try to create a community of related subjects that can be discussed. Given this analogy I think the thoughts are these frames into which we write. And so the entire wave is a dialog when it is at its best. And this wave is one of the best dialogs I have run into yet.
The real difference with email is that the container stands there and is added to simultaneously by users, rather than being passed back and forth with content replicated. Just like email, one can see what has been said before and has been copied, and insert one’s own comments in the stream. But I think this has much more potential than email because one can insert other new media within the wave, and thus integrate different types of expression together.
But because it is realtime it has a much more chat like style and that means there is much more clutter. So I think that restructuring of waves will be an essential feature in the future.
Let me suggest that thoughts are not in our minds but arise in interaction and dialog. If we think of thought as intersubjective first, and then solitary and solipcistic second, then we can see the wave as an intersubjective thought that is refined through dialog.
On the other hand I suggest you might have a look at Delueze’s What is Philosophy where he describes what a concept is. He says a concept is a structure of sub-concepts that we pass over with infinite speed so they beocme a continuity. Getting from the individual contributions to this wave to its gist is a difficult task. There is a forest and trees type of problem, where we cannot see both at the same time.
But here the wave started with a metaphor that the wave is like a thought. And we are developing that metaphor. I am contributing by pointing out the metaphors that I was trying to work with to grapple with the and meaning of waves, as well as their usefulness.
Perhaps we need multiple metaphors to come to terms with this new integrative media. We are part of an avalanche of new media being created very quickly in succession. But this is the first integrative new media that trys to combine them all. So it is at least a new form of expression that combines all the other forms of expression we have come to enjoy on the web. But whether it is a model for a thought is still a question. For me the question is whether it enhances the possibility of serious and sustained dialog. I think we need that and we need less chatter.
What I like about the posts in this wave is that they are short, unlike mine, but they do not lose the thread of the meaning that is being pursued in this wave.
Thanks for this demonstration of what might be possible in other waves if we learn how to understand the media and ourselves within the environment created by the media.