two worlds in one?

Much like my earlier insights re to facilitate or to teach, I am now realizing that there might be a whole continuum of people we are getting involved with in today’s world. On one extreme are the hard-core Face-to-Face Audience, while on the other are the hard-core Virtual Audience. Some characteristics I see in them are as follows:


Value physical connections/ emotionally based contact

Uphold protocol of civility and social manners

Geared toward long-term and lasting relationships

Will spend time to know the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of people and situations

Brings financial, emotional and social investment into interactions

Feels limited by the distance one can travel to make the physical connections

Tend to be relatively small in number of members


Prefer to be virtual, with limited physical and emotional contact

Believe in the absolute right of the individual to be what they want to be

Oriented towards instant yet short-term involvement

Will ‘browse’ people and situation within a 15 sec interest window

Brings solutions and needs that they can trade and exchange

Borderless and sees one world they can reach with a click of a mouse

Potentially unlimited in number of members, e.g., internet itself

The focus on hosting, hospitality, understanding at a deeper level and finding the heart of a group (see Amy’s “What Does It Mean To Facilitate” will likely work with groups that would have the opportunity to have some form of F2F meetings. And while they still can grow to hundreds of thousands or even millions under one big community (such as Religious Groups, Civic Groups, Ideological Groups), their basic interaction is localized among those that they have the opportunity to somehow meet (including the possibility of meeting people in global conventions).

The more structural, systemic and pragmatic way of facilitating interaction will likely be required for the groups that are almost totally virtual. They may even end up collaborating (as in using one another’s uploaded materials) without even getting a chance to interact directly with each other.

Any attempt at trying to pin down one way to facilitate (make interactions, be it F2F or virtual, easy) would be dependent on how one envisions this community to be. If it is envisioned to be a small community of practice that will collaborate and meet periodically, then more of the F2F type of facilitation will be called for. But if the vision is to let is loose as the whole internet is loose, then the more virtual type of facilitation will be required. But as Nellie, Bee and some others are working on, the happy medium is probably a blend of the two, the degree of which will vary depending on where in the continuum one wants to be.

Personally, I am trying to learn to shuttle between the two extremes – hoping that I will understand to operate in either world, before my own capacity to do so is all consumed.


5 Responses

  1. As you put it so well, the “hard core face to face” and “hard core virtual” are just stereotypes, labels we use in order to organize our thoughts better. Although we may recognize patterns of behaviour in certain situations, most people will be located somewhere in the continuum and will display mixed characteristics, which we cannot described as thoroughly because they are continuously evolving in uneven steps, from being to becoming and back to being and so forth , influenced by their “doing”, “reflecting”, “relating” and “connecting” to other people.

    The beauty of this medium is that we are now able to record this process openly so not only experts or privileged groups learn more about what happens and why but also those who are interested and want to help/facilitate others to have the same systemic vision.

  2. I like the list but am not sure about how you arranged the items, because I fall in both catagories and neither. many of the things you say need to be further qualified so this is good fodder for discussion. I’m in.

  3. Yeah me too – but I found the list very useful for reflection on my own activities, and how I approach others who may or may not be interested in online interactions… thanks

  4. […] worlds in one – part 2 Posted on September 10, 2008 by servant02 After writing my last post Two Worlds in One, I chanced upon this video clip in You Tube, where Charles Leadbeater talks about “Open” and […]

  5. We are now on week 8 open versus closed communities. So maybe we should pick this thread up and go a bit further with it?

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