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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Saturday, May 18, 2024

Face to Face Interaction in the Participation Age

Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
9:34 pm

May I please wax philosophical tonight?

We humans are inherently a social race. We naturally gravitate to personal interaction, even the virtual kind. This simple truth has spawned a cornucopia of social networks and blogs and gathering places in cyberspace, as social humans seek new and innovative ways to interact. But this evening, I was vividly reminded that virtual interaction with others often pales when compared with the real thing.

This concept came sharply into focus when, within a 60 second span of time at the OSIS Interop Event, I physically shook hands for the first time with Johannes Ernst, David Recordon and Pam Dingle. I had not previously met any of the three in person; I learned about them only through their blogs. Only Pam and I had exchanged blog comments that I knew of. Yet when I physically met each person for the first time, looked each in the eye, and shook hands, there was an immediate depth of human relationship that transcended any previous virtual connection. Our connections in cyberspace set the stage for our meeting, but could not deliver the impact of a face to face introduction.

That is why social networks, email, instant messaging, blogs, and other mechanisms endemic to the Participation Age will not replace our need for face to face human interaction. We humans possess an innate need to break bread together and look at each other and listen to each other talk. All the Identity-enabled stuff we do online might extend our reach of interaction and will enable introductions that might never happen otherwise, but it but will never replace the warmth and immediacy of personal contact.

So my friends, may those of us whose relationships are yet virtual, find a point in space and time to look each other in the eye, shake each other’s hands and sense the power of personal interaction. And those of us whose virtual relationships have been already been confirmed face to face, may we seek for other points in space and time to re-connect.

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3 Responses to “Face to Face Interaction in the Participation Age”

    Glad to finally have met you, too. Would have been great if Sun had participated in the interop as well … next time perhaps?

    Comment by Johannes Ernst on June 28, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    Johannes: Thanks for your comments. I was also disappointed that Sun didn’t participate.

    Comment by Mark Dixon on June 29, 2007 at 5:36 am

    I liked this post. I’m glad you are my personal friend and not just virtual. 🙂

    Comment by granny on July 2, 2007 at 11:01 am

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