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Tag: #joiito

IRC Bots as Social Objects [en]

IRC Bots as Social Objects [en]

With the resurrection of #joiito, I’ve been struck by the role our channel bot (jibot) plays in catalysing interactions between us humans.

Jibot is a topic of discussion as Kevin Marks and others tinker with its various incarnations. We teach it stuff, check to see what it knows. We use it to say things about ourselves and others, but also to play (for example with the function “?cool <username>” implemented by Jens-Christian).

The IRC bot is clearly here a social object. It is an object that generates social interaction. Or maybe more simply, and object that makes us talk about it just by its simple existence. Because jibot is there before us, we have conversations, interact, get to know people that we wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been there. And jibot doesn’t really have to do anything to make that happen; it just has to be.

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IRC: #joiito Channel Revival (Or At Least Reunion) [en]

IRC: #joiito Channel Revival (Or At Least Reunion) [en]

[fr] Le retour du canal IRC #joiito, et quelques pensées sur ce qui différencie Twitter et Facebook (même les groupes) d'un canal IRC comme celui-ci.

So, let me tell you what happened last night. You know I’ve been reading Here Comes Everybody, right? Well, in chapter 9, Clay Shirky tells the story of #joiito — Joi Ito‘s IRC channel, that I was a regular of for years since sometime in 2003 or 2004, until Twitter emptied the channel of most of its life. Reading about it in Clay’s book reminded me what a special thing it was.

Last night, I saw that my old friend Kevin Marks was online on Facebook. Unless I’m very mistaken, Kevin is one of the numerous friends I made on #joiito, and we hadn’t chatted in ages. I wanted to tell him about my Blogging Tribe experiment, see if he was interested. We started joking about the old times (OMG Technorati!), I mentioned my reading Here Comes Everybody, the mention of #joiito, he pointed me to his blog post clarifying Jeannie Cool’s role in the channel (seems Clay had got the story wrong in the first edition of his book), which brought me to another post of Kevin’s on the bots we had running in #joiito, and on an impulse, I went to check out the channel.

Now over the last years, I’ve pretty much always been logged in to #joiito (I run irssi in screen on my server). But I stopped going. Like many others it seems, over the years Twitter became my “replacement” for IRC. I guess we all logged in less and less, and the channel population and conversation dropped below the critical mass it needed to stay truly alive. The community disbanded.

The channel never truly died, of course. There were always some of us sitting in there, and there would be sudden flare-ups of activity. But the old spirit had left the room.

Kevin followed me in, started fiddling with the bots, I found an old abandoned #joiito Facebook group. Created back in 2007, it was clearly an “old-style” Facebook group (they sucked) that was migrated to new style and emptied automatically of its members. There were three members, I invited myself in, invited a bunch of other #joiito old hands, and started pinging people to get them to drop into the channel.

In less than an hour we had a lively conversation going on in #joiito. I stayed on for a few hours, then went to bed. Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to discover close to 60 people in the Facebook group, and that the conversation on #joiito had gone on all my night, with “new old channel regulars” joining! It feels just like the old days. Seriously. It makes me very happy, because I think this IRC channel was really something precious, and I was sad it was “no more”. (Quotes because obviously, the channel never disappeared… it just died down.)

I haven’t had an IRC conversation like this in years. I’ve been very active on Twitter (slightly less now), am very active on Facebook, and really love Facebook groups. But an IRC channel like #joiito is something different.

When I asked my old friends what had “replaced” #joiito in their current online ecosystem, the general response seems to be “Twitter”, clearly. But what is missing with Twitter and Facebook (and even Path) that we are so happy to see our channel alive again?

Twitter and Facebook are centred on the network, not on the group. We are loosely joined to each other on Twitter just like we are loosely joined on IRC (I definitely am not “close” to all the channel regulars — more on that too in a bit), but the container is way bigger. On Twitter, our networks sprawl and spread until we end up (some of us) with thousands of followers. This is very different than an enclosed chatroom with less than 100 people in it.

Once we started spending more time on Twitter and Facebook, we stopped being part of the same group. We got lost in our own networks of friends, acquaintances, and contacts.

Facebook groups bring back this “community” aspect. But interaction and conversation in Facebook groups, which are built upon a message-board model, is much slower than in IRC. There is less fluff, less joking, less playing around. It’s not real-time chatting, it’s endless commenting. We’ve touted Twitter and Facebook so much as being “real-time” that we’ve forgotten where the real “real-time” is: in chatting.

IM, Facebook, and Twitter allow people to keep in touch. I’m connected to a large handful of #joiito regulars on Facebook — people I used to exchange with daily during the Golden Days. But on Facebook, we don’t talk. Our relationship is not one of one-to-one chats. Our lives on Facebook our different enough that they don’t bring us closer, but make us drift apart. We are missing our hang-out place.

You’ve seen that play out offline, certainly. You leave a club you were part of or a job. There are many people there whom you appreciate or even love, but you do not stay in touch. Once the common activity or place that brought you together in the first place is gone, there is not enough left to keep you together.

Twitter and Facebook are more lonely places to hang out online than an IRC channel, because nobody shares the same experience as you. We all have a different Twitter, a different Facebook. In an IRC channel, we all have the same lines of text scrolling before our eyes.

Is this just a reunion, or is this the revival of the #joiito IRC channel?

Only time will tell. I personally hope for a revival. I missed you guys.

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UK Trip Report [en]

UK Trip Report [en]

The nice thing about having a laptop is that you can fire it up on the airplane and type in peace, without being distracted by IRC, instant messaging, e-mail and stats checking, or simple bloghopping. With iTunes in the background playing Bombay Dreams, my only concern is that the plane will start descending towards Geneva shortly.

My trip to the UK was short, and last-minute. I heard some people from #joiito were going to meet up in London on Sunday, I checked my easyjet flights, called Aleika–

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we will be landing shortly in Geneva. Please return to your seats, make sure your seatbelt is fastened and your seat is in the upright position, and switch off any electronic equipment.”

There goes the laptop, and I now find myself with a post which will be hard to date. Anyway. (Warning: this is a “cheese sandwich” post to some extent, so if you’re bored already, don’t bother reading it.)

Where was I? Yes, last-minute trip. I found a friend to house-and-cat-sit for me, which was nice, and spent the first couple of days at Aleika’s. We did our usual “girls at the movies” thing: get dressed up a bit, leave home late, grab some food which doesn’t come fast enough (well, it took long enough to arrive that I drank my pint of cider almost entirely before the meal, and can now testify that it’s all it takes to make my head spin quite a lot), jump into a cab and run to the theatre (slightly inebriated), only to find that the timings on the internet were incorrect, and we have another half-hour to wait before gleefully drooling all over Hugh Jackman in Van Helsing (OK, I got a bit carried away here, but you get the picture).

I got to spend nearly a whole day alone with Akirno, which was really nice. I didn’t get to see him much on my last visits. He’s grown so much! And he talks so much! (Yes, I know, that’s what I say each time I come back from Birmingham.) He’s a real sweetie. I love him very much.

Unfortunately, I caught a cold (over the top of my first one!) waiting for the bus after Van Helsing, so all my pre-London shopping was done in a rather feverish state. Looking at the bright side of things, it means I didn’t spend as much as I might have, which is a good thing, as my suitcase was already quite full enough (and my bank account empty enough, but that’s another story).

Driving to London went fine. We found a parking space right next to the Apollo Victoria Theatre. (Remember: Sunday matinée shows are a good idea if you’re going to London to see a musical or a play.) Bombay Dreams was really fun, specially as I know most of the songs Rahman re-used for the musical.

Still dressed up (I chose the pink dress), I headed for the #joiito meet-up. Despite this nagging feeling of being somewhat overdressed, and my cold, I had a very nice evening.

As always, though, I had to cope with the frustration of group meet-ups: not enough time to talk with everybody, not enough time to get into interesting conversations with those I talk to. Or maybe I’m just more of a one-to-one person? Anyway, standing invitation for any of you who would want to visit the beautiful town of Lausanne or practice French in the area — just drop me a line, or better (since e-mail is soon to be a dead form of communication, thanks to spam), catch me on IRC.

So, who was there? Well, as I’m nearing the ages of senility, I’m probably forgetting a lot of people, so please bear with me if you’re not mentioned, and let me know if it bothers you too much.

First of all, imajes, my kind host, who was so busy taking me through his iTunes collection on the train back that he missed his home stop. (Can it get worse than that?) Suw prevented me from being the only woman present (I can’t thank you enough for that). Joi was so utterly bored by my presence next to him that he left early to go back to his hotel and sleep — imagine that! (Actually, it seems jetlag also had something to do with it…)

I chatted quite a bit on the way there with imsickofmaps, and on the way back with snowchyld. Hugh managed to mess up my first blogcard somewhat (or whatever those things are called), so I am now the lucky owner of two of them. Gerard aka insert-coin took a nice bunch of photographs and has already put them online. I stole Suw’s camera to take a few photographs, but she’s not home yet, and those I took with my phone are stuck in there until I lay my hands on a Windows PC (thanks, Microsoft).

Apart from bumping my head on a couple of low doorways and leaving my coat there, I brought two things back (not literally) from james’ flat: VoodooPad, which I have not adopted as my official scrap-book application, and a book which made me discover a blog (how often has that happened to you?): Never Threaten to Eat Your Co-Workers: Best of Blogs, a collection of great weblog posts. I read a few pages, and it looked really neat. It’s on my wishlist now.

I think this post is long enough, for a short trip!

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Birmingham and London [en]

Birmingham and London [en]