The Internet Websites

Analog Meets Online: Session Thoughts

Replied to IndieWeb Popup: Analog Meets Online (

How do the fun and potential of our personal websites, and the connection of online community, extend into our offline lives and spaces? How are people playing with the boundaries of virtual and offline life? How can websites enhance physical places, things and events?

Let’s share our analog-virtual projects and ideas (and examples you’ve seen), explore what excites us about the future, discuss how online and in-person community and events interface and enhance each other, and reflect on bigger picture questions about the blending of these spheres in our lives and society.

This was a fun session! Although I booked it for two hours, we wound up talking for nearly three 😂 Lots of interesting ideas and perspectives and discussion.

How to meet people / show you’re open to meeting people online

Virtual calling card <– is that like pinging a webmention to someone’s homepage? 🤔 Or was that the intent of Guestbooks back in the day? As a reader of a lot of historic fiction, it tickles my fancy to think of a virtual version of Visiting Hours when people could leave their card if you weren’t home to let you know they came, and/or you’d be sure to be around to see whoever came… which leads to:

Virtual office hours that people can book to talk with you — I think I saw someone offering this in their email footer? Something like they reserved an hour or two a week and people could book 15-minute slots with them? Can’t find it now…

Drop-in unprogrammed live video calls –> online public spaces?

When one person is at a live event while sharing it online

Re: people live streaming at riots and letting people online tell them things to do:

  • Gives online viewers influence on in-person attendees’ realities, with asymmetric risks
  • Online viewers’ investment in the outcome and safety is lower because the stakes are lower (or nonexistent) for them
  • Online viewers’ purpose for watching may be different than the purpose of those attending in person

I noticed that even sharing photos with my friends on our private chat while a vacation was ongoing changed the experience and felt almost like inviting them into the trip with me and my husband, and decided to stop sending updates for the most part.

Online-only events offer a level of privacy & safety that in-person events can’t — it’s easy to leave a zoom call, you can hide your face / obscure your identity, you can connect with people without posting your physical location and being in the same physical space as others you don’t know

Should some types of live events be kept private — if you didn’t come you missed it? Many live events are transformed by the experience of being there with a bunch of other people (sports, opening night at the movie theater, concerts). Just read about the laugh track in Seek You, which was created to help people adapt from watching things in theaters with other people to watching things at home — to help people feel less alone, because people are more expressive of emotions (and potentially heightened?) when they’re in a group.

How have our expectations of physical media changed since blogging / social media became popular?

Thinking about a couple fiction books I read least year: Several People are Typing and No One is Talking About This. We’re ok with less formal language. Chat’s made its way into fiction as a new epistolary format.

Plus Gretchen McCulloch’s Because Internet. Social media, chat follows oral communication styles. Does using oral communication style in written formats influence our perception of more traditional written communication style, is there a greater overlap and blending of those on the internet where so much oral-style communication is used?

Blogging is often similar to journaling in style — is letter-writing and journaling somewhat of a blend of oral and literary as well? Is that part of the modern challenge of writing letters — it’s hard to gauge what formality to write them in? (Along with the uncomfortable temporality of using a slow medium in an age when communication is instant.)

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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