Facilitating Conversation

“The architecture that we create isn’t just an extension of one mind — it’s what allows multiple minds to come together,” says Alan Penn, dean of the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment at University College London. “It’s the way that we become more than just the individual to become a social group, and there’s a sort of social intelligence that emerges out of that.”

This is strikingly profound in light of notifications*.

“You Are Now Disconnected: Smartphones and the City” by Mark Bessoudo (source) – HT to Bix for mentioning the article
Of course we want some conversation to be spontaneous. But if it were all serendipitous? Stumbling upon conversation alone would be overwhelming. Conversation should be facilitated too, so thinking about how the architecture of the web can bring minds together is crucial.

I am fascinated by the fact that the “social” in social media can mean different things from one platform to the next. In light of Alan Penn's thought, the quality of social intelligence that emerges from each social media platform is vastly different. And that emerging intelligence is nurtured by the architecture of the software. Whether the developers know it our not, the software answers a litany of questions – How do people communicate with each other? How do you deal with spontaneous conversation? How do people find each other? How do people deal with toxicity?

Some of those answers were thought out in the software's architecture. Others were not. But it is important that each get their due consideration. Nothing can be thrown to the wayside or deemed unimportant, especially how we facilitate conversation between people.

That is why the mention of webmentions is a great answer to the question of how people engage with others on this software – unobtrusive to the writing experience yet enough to engage in dialogue. It looks like the suggestion will not go unheeded either.