Friday, June 6, 2008

It's not a Fishbowl, It's a Habitrail

In a lot of places I hear people talking about how we are in our little echo chamber, or fishbowl. I get that concept. I have talked with people who have written (and had published) books on film who when I talked to them about video on the net said "Oh yeah, my husband sometimes sends me funny videos from YouTube." Yes, there is a huge digital divide, no question about it.

Lately though I've been thinking it is less of a fishbowl and more of a habitrail. I have been working on building connections in Colorado and trying to create a network where those of us creating and involved in this new media/social media/web2.0 stuff in Colorado can start to meet each other and know about each other here in Colorado rather than finding our neighbors at some conference in Las Vegas.

What this means is that I am meeting a lot of people who are in the "fishbowl" who only know about some small segment of the fishbowl. Some of these people are well connected individuals yet when I mention people who I think are incredibly visible, like Loic Lemeur, Chris Brogan, Cali Lewis, or Gary Vaynerchuk they respond with a blank look. They have no idea who these people are.

After curbing my initial self righteous response I realize that chances are some of their big name people are unknowns to me. Yes I blog, but I'm not "a big blogger" my focus is video, so yes I know people who are visible in video. For those into audio there may be a whole other group of "must knows" that I may be ignorant of, and then music - who are the connectors there?

I may know a few people in each of these groups through twitter but really I swim in the social media tools, video and virtual worlds areas. Furthermore, even though I treat these areas as contiguous really each is its own area. Rather than being a big fishbowl it is more like we are in a habitrail. These worlds all connect through those tunnels but each section is mostly aware of the room they are in.

So I would say, yes we should ask, "How do we get out of the fishbowl or echo chamber?" But perhaps a first question is "How do we communicate across the habitrail?"

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