Slow Community from the individual perspective

CC flickr photo by madmaxWill Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum have taken the slow community idea and pulled it back to the individual participation perspective. I had been thinking about how a community makes choices, as a whole, about it’s speed or flow, but this reminds me that the cumulative impact of individual member choices also impacts the community speed (or slowness.) And that ignoring the choices also has an effect.

It is nice to get the different perspectives. (Plus it has been really cool to see other people thinking and blogging about slow community.)

Controlled Connectedness

Went for a couple of days to Virginia Beach to visit with Sheryl and her family and we spent a lot of time in a boat on the bay fishing and reading and chatting. In talking with her son Noah about how connected we all seem to be (text messages in between casts, etc.) one of us hit on the phrase above, and it bounced around in my brain for a bit. It seemed to fit the place I’m in right now, attempting, with pretty good success, actually, to control my connectedness, and to let the conversations happen elsewhere, jumping in when I feel compelled. Connecting, (ironically) to Nancy White’s idea of slow communities (like slow food) and wondering some more about the process of network participation and how much pull is too much pull, etc.

Photo Credit:

view photostream Uploaded on June 8, 2007
by madmaxx

Matt and Nancy blather about slow communities

cc on Flickr by by fatboykeWe missed our partner in crime – er- podcasting, Ed (how can life interfere with our podcasts! Alas!) but Matt Moore and I had a fun time yesterday as he recorded our conversation about Slow Communities . We rambled for about 20 minutes, then finished.

Afterwards I said – hm, we didn’t get to any practical ideas about what to DO about volume and speed, and how to be discerning about when to go fast or slow. Matt suggests sending us postcards! 😉 I am copying the whole post here… hm, is that rude of me? I want to annotate the timestamp notes, and this seemed the most efficient way.

Nancy has been writing & talking a lot about “slow community” recently – video, slides & post here & here. Sadly Ed Mitchell couldn’t join us as planned (but we’ll nab him again in the future).

One thing we didn’t tackle in the podcast was the matter of practical tactics: What should community members & coordinators do?

Answers on a postcard please…

Download the mp3

00:00 – Nancy’s conversations about slow communities
03:30 – Matt’s fast community anecdote
* N’s note: what to do/how to respond to unrealistic expectations about speed of community building and expectations of learning through reflection if you don’t take time to reflect!
06:00 – When is slow appropriate?
* and for whom and how do we know if my slow is your fast?
06:30 – The importance of sustainability
* hm, and now that I think about it, also scalability. Is “community” generically scalable? I don’t think so. Does it have costs to sustain? Yup. Are the benefits sufficient and are we willing to pay the freight?
07:15 – Fast is good for social media experiments
* and brainstorming, iterative design, and getting the chores done…
08:00 – We need to learn & reflect
* do leaders role model reflection and learning?
10:30 – Rhythm, pausing & athletics
* I want to dive deeper into this “rhythm” thing…
12:15 – Organisational seasons & hurricanes
14:00 – More is not necessarily better
15:30 – Community obesity
* Oh, I LOVED this one. A Matt Moore gem, for sure. Also Infoluenza…
* Matt forgot to include “community and network speedometers” — what does making the pace visible do to our awareness and subsequent choices/behaviors? A feedback mechanism showing me how many emails I have read/written, groups responded to, blog posts, tweets… and time spent on them? Dunno?
* Multimembership
* How many relationships… and what is the depth/quality of those relationships
17:00 – Networks & communities
* are networks fast and communities slow? I don’t think that is quite it, but something is there…
18:00 – Admitting that you have a problem
* Moi?
20:00 – Mindfulness & self-awareness as critical skills
* It is almost impossible to micromanage in many of our current environments, so self management becomes a critical skill and practice
22:30 – Nancy applies the brakes with meditation
24:00 – What do we really need?

Photo credit, Flickr, CC

view photostream Uploaded on July 14, 2008
by fatboyke

Slow Community Video from Zaaz Event

Here is the video of the short talk I did on Slow Community at Zaaz last week. Boy, I don’t hold still, do I?

Slow Community

Reflecting Slowly on Slow Communities

Slow snailsI promised earlier this week that I would post a follow up about my offering Tuesday night on Thinking about “Slow Community” (particularly online). Before it all (slowly) leaks out of my brain, here are some notes, comments and pointers to the ongoing Twitter conversation about “slow community.”

First, the host of the evening, Ryan Turner, wrote:


You ROCKED it last night. I knew you would. Thanks so much for making the time.

I think your talk pretty much blew everyone’s mind. It certainly got mine spinning, and I really think you’re on to something with the slow community idea. I too question whether it’s really slower or actually less–and I also wonder whether there’s a combination of those that ends up making sense. Do we partition our relationships? Our conversations (across relationships)? How do we manage work, where project groups form, dissolve, and re-form, but relationships (personal, intellectual, thematic) persist? Doesn’t seem to me anybody’s yet invented the social router, which could manage our cross-channel traffic in meaningful ways … though I do have some ideas … not to say a prototype ….

It was great to reconnect with you, just a bit, and I hope we can continue.


Phew. And here I thought I was babbling and incoherent. 🙂 Thank goodness the other folks were all interesting. I enjoyed the offerings from Brian Fling of Flingmedia – Brian, did you talk about slow community at FOO Camp?; Justin Marshall of ZAAZ, Samantha Starmer from REI – Samantha, I have added “metadata strategy” to my online interaction checklist!; and Wendy Chisholm, who has opened my eyes to accessibility – even on a little old blog post – in a way that I needed. Thanks, Wendy!,

After the talks, I had the chance to have conversation with a few folks – unfortunately I did not write down names. I should have. Oi. Here are the points that came up that I can remember.

  • If everything is so overwhelming and fragmented, what are the solutions? (The young guy who loved the chicken wings). I started to babble about a systems approach, but I need to actually understand better what that means. But I SENSE that this is important. True to my style, it usually takes me a while to figure out intellectually what I intuit.
  • What is the role of information FLOW in creating a useful community experience, rather than overwhelm (the guy from Boeing).
  • What is it we are really asking about – slowness, volume, simplicity?
  • What should businesses be thinking about if they are in this crushing phase of “must have community?”
  • What is the role of identity in all of this?
  • And of course, Ryan’s “social router” which has MY head spinning.

On the Twitter front, besides the tweets already posted on the wiki, here is the latest round… thank you my TweetFriends. Oops, can’t do a screen capture. Since Windows did its last update, some of my old programs aren’t working. I was wondering when this was going to happen. Grrr. I’ll come back and edit it in. In the meantime, you can see them on Summize. I’ll go download Snagit and be right back!

(Later… here are the screen captures of the Tweets)

Slow Community Tweets 1

Slow Community Tweets 2

Slow Community Tweets 3

Thinking about “Slow Community” (particularly online)

Tonight I’m sharing a few thoughts at ZAAZ about “Slow Community” and I thought I’d share the slides. They can be found here as well as embedded below. This all came out of a blog post a few months back that generated some very interesting comments.

In preparation, I pinged my Twitter network – who gave some fabulous insights and suggestions. I’ve screen captured them and put them on a a wiki page to capture further thinking — slowly.

It is kind of ironic to use the fastness of Twitter to think about slowness. 🙂