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Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Canada

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Snarky Comments Loosely Joined

Chris Campbell

A couple of nights ago I sat down to watch the U.S. Presidential Debate and decided to join in the second IRC chat that David Weinberger set up. I hadn't used IRC in years and I was surprised at how much I forgot... I had to get a client and get connected, but then it was a lot of fun. I sat down on the couch with the debate on the tv and made snide remarks as the debate went on. At the peak there were something like 50 people there. What was neat was that it wasn't that big a room and while there were some big name bloggers there, it was refreshingly flat. It made me nostalgic for the old days of the WWW where you could know most of the people there.
Then when I saw Weinberger's entry Annotated Debate, where he points to how Kevin Marks took Dave Winer's MP3 of the debate and combined it with the transcript to make a QuickTime that he calls "audioblogging with comments". I opened up the johodebate movie and saw that I got the first comment, which was about Kerry's tie. In David Weinberger's post he's a bit nervous about the "semiprivateness of chat being exposed in the full public of the Web" and I was wondering the same thing. Then I saw my (rather literal) nickname show up and felt a strange, internal, "yikes" as I quickly tried to remember what I said. Would I have said anything different if I knew where it would end up? Probably not, but it was interesting to go through the thought process of semiprivate and public speech.
I've been thinking a lot about how people speak and look when they are being recorded. The record changes the way you respond. With chat there is a text record, with video and film there is an additional dimension. Documentary filmmaking makes you (or should make you) think about what you see, what you say, what you show and how you establish context with editing. It's fascinating and demanding and it's why people get sucked in to making documentaries as you see how you can change the life of someone or cause them to act by just showing them something.
What started off as something that was fun and snarky has turned in to something that is more dynamic, but also managed to tie in to other stuff that I've been thinking about too. Thanks, Kevin for the value-added and thanks David for setting up the chat!