On the Death of Gaia.com & the future of “Social” Media.

Via on Mar 13, 2010

gaiaSo it turns out that gaia.com is shutting down.

While this doesn’t really surprise those of us who’ve been around for a while – after all, there’s a trail of media acquisitions behind Gaiam that didn’t really go the way many hoped they would (for those who don’t know, gaia.com was originally zaadz.com – one of the most interesting online communities built in service to social entrepreneurs …), what’s interesting is the response that members are having to the news.

Bewilderment, frustration, disappointment, grief.

In fact, the whole spectrum of emotion one would expect to see if a marauding gang of Goths (the hairy horse-backed ones, not the pale-faced eye-liner ones) had come plundering through your village before burning it to the ground.

So it got me thinking about community – physical and digital – and the responsibilities incumbent upon those of us who establish these communities, who engage with these communities, who champion them, recommend them and, when push comes to shove, abandon them and then move on in pursuit of the next shiny thing that happens to seize our attention.

Do we really share the responsibilities of a real community when we gather online? Or do we simply ‘unsubscribe’, change our avatar or twitter handle, relaunch our blogs, reinvent ourselves over and again without any real care or consideration for the manner in which our actions impact those around us?

While in Boulder last year I was fortunate enough to gather with a number of exceptionally bright and compassionate people, talking about ‘social media’ and its power (or not) to influence change (among them Gwen Bell and Siona van Dijk from gaia.com)

One of the things that came out of that discussion was my assertion that

there is nothing ‘social’ about ‘social media’

Media, in and of itself, is the antithesis to dialog – in fact, there is no possibility of real dialog in 2D communication; at best it’s like using a 2-way radio – you have to wait for the other person to finish before you can speak; at worst it’s a series of monologues strung together to look like a discussion.

Like television, social media tricks us into thinking that something other than a rapid sequence of two-dimensional images are flashing before us; and even at its best, even when it looks three dimensional, it’s still just the same process, tricked up to look like something more …

Whilst I’m not disinclined to engage in semantic trickery (usually when i’ve had too much coffee or not enough sleep … or i’m just feeling as if saying something contentious might be amusing for a time), there’s something to be said for really looking at the language we use to describe this ‘world’ in which we spend so much of our time.

Words such as ‘community’, ‘social’, ‘dialog’ and ‘friend’ have totally different meanings when used online.

While I have no doubt I’m neither the first nor the last to comment on this, it’s interesting to note what happens when the online and offline communities merge. Websites such as elephantjournal.com (deeply rooted in the Boulder community and beginning to spread it’s big grey wings into other communities around the world) and new ventures in pre-launch such as W1SD0M (a network of networks stitching together entrepreneurs, investors and advisors in the social and sustainable enterprise space globally), are working hard to ensure that the promise of community made in the digital sphere finds its fulfillment in the world of form.

And while i have no doubt that i will continue to blog, tweet and facebook for quite some time, please don’t send me any virtual hugs.

I’m much more interested in putting my arms around you and sitting down face-to-face over coffee than I am in pretending that all those ones and zeroes have any more meaning than xoxoxo.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cameron Burgess

Cameron Burgess is a recent Australian addition to the Boulderverse.

He is the CEO of a group of companies incorporating uncompromise, icologi & wellnessconnect that provide commercialization, strategic development, marketing & digital services purely to the health and sustainability market.

Cameron is also a core-team member of w1sd0m – a global network that helps organize the flow of intellectual, social, human, & financial capital to strengthen Global Social Enterprise.

A speaker, workshop facilitator and agent provocateur, Cameron can be found on twitter @uncompromise

About Cameron Burgess

Cameron Burgess has been founding, catalysing and advising sustainable ventures for more than fifteen years; he is a sustainable venture strategist, founder of @uncompromise & @connect_well, co-founder of @w1sd0m_net, a speaker, facilitator, writer, agitator and fierce angel. Currently on Australia's East Coast, Cameron is a digital nomad and moves from location to location, country to country, based upon his own personal interest and the needs of his clients. If you'd like to find out more about Cameron, visit his website here

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27 Responses to “On the Death of Gaia.com & the future of “Social” Media.”

  1. don says:

    Didn't the sex pistols say, "no future for you" ?

  2. Very well-written, Cameron, but, assuming I understand you correctly, I strongly disagree with you.

    You seem to be unaware (although I'm quite sure you're not) of how thin, meaningless, and precarious many real life face-to-face relationships are. The dissolution of gaia, which sparked this blog, is an everyday occurrence in the flesh-on-flesh world as much or more as it is in the cyber-world. Organizations are created, organizations are dissolved, relationships satisfy, relationships disappoint, as much in the face-to-face world as they do online.

    Now, I agree that the cyber-sphere will never replace our closest relationships–our family and our handful of closest friends. But other than that, I see the same set of opportunities and risk in the cyber-world for real and meaningful relationships as I see in the "real" world. I have definitely established relationships with people whom I have never met online that are as productive and meaningful as any I've had in person (with the exception of the family and closest friends I already excluded.)

    The cyber relationships I've established on Yoga Journal Community, numerous individual blogs, and here at Elephant are at least as important and meaningful as the hundreds I developed during my 30 years as a software entrepreneur, or certainly as good as the face-to-face relationships I've developed with Yoga people. I even went through the rather intimate process of co-editing a whole book "Yoga in America" without ever meeting or even talking on the phone the creator of the book. It was all done with in-depth e-mails and document sharing.

    Please tell me if I perhaps misunderstood your point. If so I'll apologize for jumping the gun.

    Thanks.

    Bob Weisenberg
    http://YogaDemystified.com

    • So much for stewardship—yet another company Gaiam's bought, absorbed, then put down.

      As for young entrepreneurs out there: if you start something, the least you can do is make sure you drop it off in responsible hands before you take your money and run.

      For more: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/01/more-wisdo

    • Paloma says:

      I agree with Bob. I feel it does not matter how the personal or business relationship takes place, face to face or through correspondence on the internet. The time is invested, bonds are formed. People in my view for years have lost the art and beauty of good manners when in a business or personal relationship, be it face to face or cyberspace.

    • am pretty sure that we agree, and that your comments simply underline the points of convergence, rather than the other way around ….

      something i've often heard said is that 'all generalisations are dangerous, even this one' – and the same holds true for this article …

      for those who understand, deeply, what community is about, online communities are simply another way in which we can extend and form deep relationship; shared values are, ultimately, more important than shared space-time after all

      you, bob, from what i can see, have a genuine interest in community – your engagement here on elephant, as an example – both publicly and in contributor back-channels – indicates a clear interest in supporting both the community generally, and individual readers and contributors specifically

      i don't think you misunderstood the point i was making, just, perhaps indicated an incompleteness to the article that bears addressing

  3. Siona says:

    Thank you, Cameron, for the reflection (and you, Waylon, for the space).

    I’ve been professionally involved in online community (at Gaia, at Zaadz, and before that at Various and Disney) for nearly a decade now. The metaphor I’ve used in the past when it comes to Gaia, and ‘online community’ in general, is one of a cafe–perhaps one with particularly special and engaged ownership, with a regular open-mic night and many hosted events. The owners of the cafe create the space, keep it clean, provide the coffee and pay the rent, and the clientele enhance the atmosphere and participate in the community that arises within that space. As a cafe owner, of course it will be in your best interest to listen to your customers and make sure they’re happy. However, unlike them, you’re the one ultimately responsible for paying the rent and making sure the lights stay on. You do have a business to run.

    If the cafe is small and locally-owned, then if it starts struggling, there are recourses–perhaps the customers love it enough that they’re willing to invest, or will help support the owners in converting the place to a non-profit, or even loan them money or volunteer until things get turned around. If the coffee shop happens to be, instead, just an underperforming Starbucks branch, there’s little the local community can do other than petition the corporation… and if they’re that passionate about the space, they’d probably be better served just allowing Starbucks to leave and creating their own co-op in the vacant space.

    I know this isn’t a perfect metaphor, but for me it rings true, and it’s helped me in the past explain to some more idealistic members the reason why Gaia (and most social media platforms) wasn’t and (in its current state) could not be a democracy.

    But this is a bit of a digression. All I mean to say is that, for me, the communities that arise within companies are no less real those that are more intentional. The community that arises in a cafe can’t be compared, of course, to a community that, say, has bought land together or committed to a co-housing situation, but I think the word still applies. We’re meeting at Trident tomorrow, a place that I would consider a community and where I’ve initiated and strengthened dozens of friendships. And just because they were made in a business setting doesn’t make them less real.

    If Trident were to fold, I’d be sorrowful about the loss of that ‘platform’ and the space (ideological and otherwise) it held, and I’d mourn the eventual dissolving of any more casual relationships that were dependent on that space. At the same time, I’d recognize that there’s no need for me to abandon relationships just because we had to change venues. Someone always needs to ‘hold the space’ in which community arises, but what happens after that initial alloy is formed… that’s an open question.

    Anyway. I can’t begin to enumerate the encyclopedia of emotions I’ve been feeling at Zaadz/Gaia’s shutdown (heartbreak at something beautiful ending, shame at not having been able to make the site succeed within Gaiam, pride at the way the members are banding together and popcorning off into new projects and communities and places, and no small amount of relief and excitement at my own–finally!!–next steps), but I can say that the site, for me, provided the soil for the seeds of literally hundreds, if not more, personal relationships–you among them. And if what started as a virtual hug has the potential of ending in a real one, well, I certainly wouldn’t avoid the former.

    10101011101
    Siona

  4. Suasoria says:

    Most of this conversation is over my head, but I was a longtime Zaadz/Gaia member. What struck me was how many of my contacts said they'd be willing to pay for the service, and they felt it was a slap in the face that a subscription option was never offered to them. It says a lot that Gaia provided the kind of community that was valued so much by its members.

    • actually, gaia.com DID offer a paid subscription, but out of over 100 000 users (at the time), less than 200 signed up for it! which points back to my earlier comment about taking responsibility for the communities we create and engage with

      see siona's comment here: http://team.gaia.com/blog/2010/3/important-gaia-a

      the problem, i believe, was with the way the offering was taken to market …. not communicated as effectively as it could have been, and possibly not the right offering for the community

      regardless, there was some attempt made ….

    • actually, gaia.com DID offer a paid subscription, but out of over 100 000 users (at the time), less than 200 signed up for it! which points back to my earlier comment about taking responsibility for the communities we create and engage with

      see siona's comment here: http://team.gaia.com/blog/2010/3/important-gaia-a

      the problem, i believe, was with the way the offering was taken to market …. not communicated as effectively as it could have been, and possibly not the right offering for the community

      regardless, there was some attempt made ….

  5. TRR says:

    I think it's quite telling when the creator of Zaadz, Brian Johnson, hasn't posted to his Gaia profile since April 2009. Looks like he gave up on the platform long ago. I have not seen his response to the announcement, and would be interested.

  6. panhistoria says:

    I disagreed with the primary article in the general but not in the specific. Some sites touted as online communities are NOT communities in the human sense of the word. As someone that has created an online community of ten years standing (of the small performance cafe kind to use an earlier good metaphor) I know from personal experience that deep, lasting, and meaningful relationships have been built there. Many of my community members have been with me since the beginning. They helped to build the site with their hard work and with their cash when needed. There has been no venture capital, only loyalty. We were born of a similar site that folded after corporate money was invested which then proceeded to tear apart the real human aspects of the site brick by brick.

  7. TedHowardKK says:

    Hi Cameron, Siona and others

    Cameron – It is easy to disagree with the surface level of your first post, and in reading all the followups, it is clear there is more depth to your thinking.

    Even having said that, I disagree about dimensionality aspect you expressed in the original.
    It is not about dimensions, it is about bandwidth.
    When one is communicating face to face, there are so many more cues, micro muscle movements in all parts of the body, that add nuance of meaning to conversation.

    In a written conversation such as this, those cues are absent. That can be both strength and weakness.
    It certainly reduces the bandwidth available for communication, and it can also force an evolution of of the intentionality that goes into the construction and linkage of words, and the concepts behind them.

    I like the definition of communication that Donald Kingsbury used in his book "Geta" which ended with "for communication to occur, a concept in one mind must be replicated in another mind".

    Most often, exchanges of words do not result in communication at the levels desired.

    For me, knowledge is infinitely dimensional.
    Every new distinction we make opens a potentially infinite dimension, and most of those dimensions are able to interact and intersect with most of the other distinctions with their infinite dimensions. We cannot, of course, actualise any infinity, we can only sample discrete sections of it, to get a "feel" for how the rest of it might "play out".

    I happen to live in a small town (less than 4,000 people) which is over an hour's drive to the next town of similar size, and over two hours from the nearest city. Having access to "social media" such as zaadz, is of great value to me, in developing communication skills across a vast range of interpretive paradigms, in an effort to create something that is of real value to myself and humanity as a whole.

    I see any form of communication as potentially infinitely dimensional – much like Phillip Pullman's "Truth Teller" that Lyra uses, where each symbol has a whole stack of meanings (yet for me, both the number of symbols,a nd the stack depths, are potentially infinite).

    Yes communities come and go, and zaadz was formed with a specific purpose and ethos – (and I have been in email contact with Brian in the last few days). I have put several thousand hours into zaadz/gaia – I have had value from that; and part of it was an attempt to leave a trail that could be followed – loosing that trail is a real loss to me.

    An alternative approach, of clear saying something like "hey guys and gals – we are losing money badly, we need some more subscription income or we are going to close", might have had a very different outcome. I suspect it would have become self sustaining.
    And as has been pointed out – the "ownership" model has always been questionable.

    • Hi, Ted. Enjoyed your thoughts here.

    • thanks ted for your thoughtful feedback

      i should note that the purpose of this article was not to strongly state an opinion about the value of social media, but to raise a question about how we interact with it, what our ideas of community are, and what responsibility we bear when we engage with community in an online space.

      the quality and value of social media is impacted by how we engage with it – just like guns don't kill people (but they certainly help ….) social media is a neutral medium that holds very real possibilities for community development – depending entirely upon how it is approached.

      i understand and agree about the nuances of in-person communication; i've studied communication for more than 15 years, have done more than 1000 hours of training in neuro-linguistics and am a certified hypnotherapist (just to give some context … although now i work in commercialisation).

      it is impossible to deny, however, that most social media is static – not dynamic – and that 'socialising' is dynamic, not static … hence the assertion that there is nothing 'social' about social media (a comment that nobody thus far has really responded to)

      my point about rooting online communities, to some extent, in the world of form, has also not been responded to – yet we can clearly see that using digital mediums to facilitate connection with some degree of direct, personal engagement is FAR more impactful and community-generating than simply engaging through the web

      diving deeper into specific projects and relationships may occur as a result of connections established through these mediums, but at that point, the quality of the interaction has little to do with social media (once it moves into other forms of communication – digital or not (more of a response to some of bob's earlier comments)

      the responsbility on gaiam to communicate clearly and effectively with their members is not lost on me – and is something that Siona would be much better positioned to comment on; naturally, however, if the interest was in community rather than monetizing a web-asset, this may well have been the pathway they went down (but, of course, being gaiam, they couldn't very well push something out to the marketplace suggesting they had no idea what they were doing and allowed their reputation – and their share price – to suffer as a result)

  8. [in response to ted's comments above - the commenting system is fried, so i can't put this in sequence]

    thanks ted for your thoughtful feedback

    i should note that the purpose of this article was not to strongly state an opinion about the value of social media, but to raise a question about how we interact with it, what our ideas of community are, and what responsibility we bear when we engage with community in an online space.

    the quality and value of social media is impacted by how we engage with it – just like guns don't kill people (but they certainly help ….) social media is a neutral medium that holds very real possibilities for community development – depending entirely upon how it is approached.

    i understand and agree about the nuances of in-person communication; i've studied communication for more than 15 years, have done more than 1000 hours of training in neuro-linguistics and am a certified hypnotherapist (just to give some context … although now i work in commercialisation).

    it is impossible to deny, however, that most social media is static – not dynamic – and that 'socialising' is dynamic, not static … hence the assertion that there is nothing 'social' about social media (a comment that nobody thus far has really responded to)

    my point about rooting online communities, to some extent, in the world of form, has also not been responded to – yet we can clearly see that using digital mediums to facilitate connection with some degree of direct, personal engagement is FAR more impactful and community-generating than simply engaging through the web

    diving deeper into specific projects and relationships may occur as a result of connections established through these mediums, but at that point, the quality of the interaction has little to do with social media (once it moves into other forms of communication – digital or not (more of a response to some of bob's earlier comments)

    the responsbility on gaiam to communicate clearly and effectively with their members is not lost on me – and is something that Siona would be much better positioned to comment on; naturally, however, if the interest was in community rather than monetizing a web-asset, this may well have been the pathway they went down (but, of course, being gaiam, they couldn't very well push something out to the marketplace suggesting they had no idea what they were doing and allowed their reputation – and their share price – to suffer as a result)

  9. Beksa says:

    I was new to Gaia, but felt it offered a lot more than the Gaiam FB page, which seems really to be more of a marketing/advertising channel. There's not much in the way of "conversation" happening on the corporate FB page. A real shame.

    This appears to be happening all over. As soon as a new communication channel opens up, it gets coopted by corporate messages. Email led to spam and now this conversion is happening to popular social media platforms.

  10. in response to TedHowardKK (because intense debate seems to hate this comment and i've reposted it seven times now and every time it gets deleted)

    thanks ted for your thoughtful feedback

    i should note that the purpose of this article was not to strongly state an opinion about the value of social media, but to raise a question about how we interact with it, what our ideas of community are, and what responsibility we bear when we engage with community in an online space.

    the quality and value of social media is impacted by how we engage with it – just like guns don't kill people (but they certainly help ….) social media is a neutral medium that holds very real possibilities for community development – depending entirely upon how it is approached.

    i understand and agree about the nuances of in-person communication; i've studied communication for more than 15 years, have done more than 1000 hours of training in neuro-linguistics and am a certified hypnotherapist (just to give some context … although now i work in commercialisation).

    it is impossible to deny, however, that most social media is static – not dynamic – and that 'socialising' is dynamic, not static … hence the assertion that there is nothing 'social' about social media (a comment that nobody thus far has really responded to)

    my point about rooting online communities, to some extent, in the world of form, has also not been responded to – yet we can clearly see that using digital mediums to facilitate connection with some degree of direct, personal engagement is FAR more impactful and community-generating than simply engaging through the web

    diving deeper into specific projects and relationships may occur as a result of connections established through these mediums, but at that point, the quality of the interaction has little to do with social media (once it moves into other forms of communication – digital or not (more of a response to some of bob's earlier comments)

    the responsbility on gaiam to communicate clearly and effectively with their members is not lost on me – and is something that Siona would be much better positioned to comment on; naturally, however, if the interest was in community rather than monetizing a web-asset, this may well have been the pathway they went down (but, of course, being gaiam, they couldn't very well push something out to the marketplace suggesting they had no idea what they were doing and allowed their reputation – and their share price – to suffer as a result)

    • Hi Cameron

      Apologies for taking so long to reply – 5 weeks ago I was diagnosed with metastasized melanoma, and 3 weeks ago had three tumors, and quite a bit of the left side of my cheek and neck removed in a 5 1/2 hour surgery. The following week I was informed that there are more tumors on my liver and there is nothing that medical science can do to significantly alter the survival probability curve. So I have been focusing on giving my body the best metabolic chance (mostly raw foods) and exploring what lies behind the placebo effect, and employing that to my best advantage.
      A lot of time has gone into thinking about what is most important, and this topic is one of those very dear to me.

      The Oxford dictionary defines social as "Capable of being associated or united to others.". In this respect I say social media can and does create new societies, and new social forms.

      The asynchronous nature of the media is fascinating and powerful. It allows people to enter conversations at their own time of choosing. It can, and does, join people across space and time. A great example has been the contributions of people to us in response of the recent health issues and the medical response. Six people have visited us physically from the local community, with food and offers of help, and many people whom I have never physically met, but have befriended in online fora, have offered assistance, and one of then has sent me stuff. Of what I consider that of the three most valuable contributions thus far to my continued existence, two have come from people whom I have never physically met, but have become part of my cyber community.

      I totally agree with you about the quality and value of social media in determined in large part by how we engage with it; and the same can be said of any aspect of life and reality. What we see and experience is only partly determined by physical reality, and is in large measure determined by the context of understanding and expectation that we bring to the situation. Those contexts and understandings are themselves the result of complex genetic and cultural evolutions, intermixed with our individual development, intuition and choices. It is a very complex infinitely dimensional matrix.

      I do deny that most social media is static. It seems to me that most social media is very dynamic, and it is dynamic on different timescales. Even reading our own words, hours, days, months or years later, can be an interesting experience. And the ability of words written months or years previous to bring people together is not to be underestimated.

      As to the aspect of money, the inherent incentive structures within money itself it is something that has intrigued me for some time.
      The problem with money lies in the fact that it is not a measure of real value, but of scarcity value.
      One can easily establish this by contemplating two of the most valuable things to any human being, oxygen and water. For most of us both are plentiful and cost little or nothing – oxygen certainly costs most of us nothing most of the time – one exception being under water, when SCUBA is required.
      This non-equality between real value and scarcity value introduces a fundamental problem into monetary systems.
      There are two basic classes of mechanisms by which one can increase money.
      One is socially useful, and involves increasing the supply of something that is valued.
      The other is socially devastating, and involves increasing scarcity to increase value.

      This incentive to increase scarcity is clearly present in many aspects of society.
      Monopolies are one simple expression. Laws which create barrier to entry, such as most "health and safety legislation" are another that is not so clear (because a lot of advertising and political speak has gone into convincing us that such laws are for the public benefit, rather than the reality, which is that they are for the monetary benefit of a select few). When one starts to look clearly, in depth, it is profound how far this "double speak" goes in all aspect of society – health industries which are in fact sickness industries. There are many others – deep in all levels of governance.

      Awareness of this must spread.
      We must change our governance structures to ones that see money as a useful tool, rather than an end in itself.

      The plan at http://www.solnx.org is one possible path to a future of abundance for all – there are others possible; none seem particularly probable at present, and they remain possible.

      The responsibility for Zaadz was something beyond short term cost, it was about seeds of long term prosperity, as measured in real, rather than monetary value.
      It's a real shame that money became the sole driving force.

  11. ideasurge says:

    I DO think the thinness (if you want to call it that) of online relationships is reflected in things like our willingness to pay for staying connected. To be fsir, the same can be said for many offline groups that call themselves community simply because we all attend an event.

    So many sites struggle with wanting maximum openness and yet the noise of more volume often undermines the very objective of community creation it was meant to create as each person just becomes yet one more in a cacophony of voices. . And yet with the right model–and that includes having a clear sense of unique value proposition–subscriptions can and do work.

    Look at Match.com. People are willing to pay to find valuable personal relationships.Why does it work? They provide a PERSONALIZED way for ppl to meaningfully connect with people that they would not otherwise know and enable an offline connection. I would argue for something similar in the "conscious community" space. How are websites really engendering not just articles and content (new media) but deep and meaningful connections that have staying power and personalization? I would gladly pay a fee for a matchmaking service for conscious entrepreneurs that share my values.

    Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that the word "community" is often more buzz than reality. The fact that I am one of the registered users of a website does not really make me a member of "community" but ir does provide a forum for potentially finding someone who could really be in my community.

    So how can those forums take those interactions and create the deep connections and shared values that really define community? I have not seen it yet but I suspect that there is a big opportunity lurking behind there somewhere.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Kendall

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  13. as a quiet suggestion, part of what supports building community is the willingness to be identified and to stand behind one's commentary; it let's us know who you are, that you're a real person, and that we can then form some sort of relationship ….

    posting as 'anonymous' doesn't invalidate your commentary, of course, but it does underscore one of the primary points of the article

    to be frank, i don't know exactly what happened with gaia.com – i don't work for them, i've simply been engaged with them (and critical of gaiam's media acquisitions and the manner in which they have not been stewarded, to echo waylon above)

    the 'next shiny thing' is a comment on the manner in which people generally seem to engage with online community; they fall in love with a new feature set, a new app, a new look and feel – they stagger about, experiencing drunkenness 2.0 without digging deep and forming roots and really committing to the spaces they find themselves in

    in so many ways, it seems, we have become digital nomads – but not so much wandering as a tribe, but wandering alone, sometimes in small groups, yet never with any real sense of purpose ….

    gaia.com was NOT deeply rooted in the boulder community – i would be careful about equating proximity with purpose; some of gaia's members are certainly here, and given the nature of the site, and the nature of boulder, it's not surprising that many boulder residents were also engaged with gaia.com – but i think it would be a vast over-simplification to suggest that gaiam – gaia's parent company – ever made full use of the platform to engage local communties anywhere around the world that its 300 000 odd members reside

    i agree with you on the 'waiting for the other to finish speaking' comment, but this misses the point of what i was saying; the point being that dialog is dynamic, not static, and that reading is not, at the end of the day, listening ….

  14. * i am not compelled to say i agree or disagree *

    thanks for contributing your thoughts on this – was indicated elsewhere, it was my intent to stimulate 'discussion' and to provide a space for that

    the obvious fact that i am heavily engaged with what is generally referred to as 'social media' should be more than enough of a disclaimer to indicate to the readers (if they actually dug into my profile and my other articles) that i am not saying this medium is without value … more that there is probably some small degree of benefit in approaching it as mindfully as we do other mediums of communication & communtiy

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