Of all the phenomena ‘afforded,’ as-it-were, the set that interests me most is how illusions are afforded. There are easy, maybe facile, metaphors come to mind. I can split the focus and wonder about how those illusions may be said to be typically afforded and then move into a more phenomenological frame and wonder what a given typical illusion feels like for the subject. So: when this is pointed out or otherwise amplified for the subject, what does this then evoke in the subject?
I’ll use myself as such a subject. If I ask myself what are the the different types of illusions of privacy afforded differently by email discussion list, and, by group blog, the first images that are aroused differentiate the illusory walled living room of the cozy email list, and, the private hushed conversation conducted in the midst of the uncaring audience.
Let’s leap. This example leads–for me–to the following sense: as a matter of personal preference, I would rather contribute an instance of expression on this blog, have it ignored, yet have it ignored for all the world to see then do the same on an email list and have it echo off the walls. Better the ‘thud’ than the reverberation.
There would be reasons for this.
A better term, coming from wanting to develop a better term, for reflexive affordances is, intraspersonal affordances. It seems to me, even if novel, what I’m trying to locate is the introspective response to the environment. Maybe it’s a sort of bridge or liminal aspect of reflection upon what is afforded. And, what is afforded by the uncertain flux of structure and the interpersonal.
The echoing room refers both to the seeming boundedness of the structure of the list, and, the lack of human reception.
I could run with the room metaphor. To do so is to wonder about what kind of room is a blog. Now my original evoked image shifts. It’s not like creating for all the world to see. All the world can’t fit into its room. It’s a bigger room, and, it’s a bigger illusion of roominess.
Various modalities, and their affordances, look different from one another. For example, Facebook, is like having to occupy a room someone else designed, and, along with this comes lots of constraining rules. Along this same line of thought, as you have noted, the blog modality seems like this too when someone else is busily overhauling the room with their design and with their rules, or some of them.
Obviously this is in high contrast with the austere structure of an email list. With a list, the tools with which one can ‘mark their territory’ are few. But, at the same time, the effects one can create are substantial. In terms of illusion, it would then be the case that a participant might think: “Ahh, this is what is imagined about me.”
Naked text provides for some cruel austerities. Contrast this with the different ways multi-media affords different kinds of mediation. For example, to easily see the artistic product of the photographer is better than even to hop on a text link dangling at the bottom of a post.
Going further, the sensemaking concerned with another person’s embodiment, is enriched via the multi-sensory potential. (Hmmm, methinks the intrapersonal affordances are embodied affordances.) This, then, comes to one of the first winds of the netdynam email list gyre, when psych type and psycho type alike pondered the absence of the body.
Still, I’m mindful of the necessary promotion of illusion. It is possible that illusion is preferable to realism.
I have a favorite example of this. There are immensely popular blogs where a single post evokes tens, hundreds, even thousands of comments. Probably, in a structural sense, a comment threads allows a given comment to ripple downward through successive comments up to the point the comment–in result–dissipates its energy. There, no doubt, are affordances having to do with the dissipative propensities in a modal system. The existence of long comment threads on blogs begs lots of questions. To suggest one answer to an unspecified question: if you read a long comment thread top to bottom, the temporal slices can sometimes be identified because some threads demarcate their own waxing and waning and waxing.
What would a commenter be thinking to lose one’s self in such a trailing crowd?
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