Elena R's Blog

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Put Your Thoughts Where Your Mouth Is!

Well, the army of writers march on in the third chapter for the Cluetrain Manifesto. This time Rick Levine provides his take about the impact the voice has on the Internet. I found myself nodding my head while reading the articulate and straightforward discussions that he made about the mysterious voices on the Internet. Many of the points that he made were a realistic and contemporary explanation about the overwhelming trend of voices heard across the sea of forums.

One of the interest and familiar discussions that he has are about the benefits of electronic mailing lists. He describes how they are a successful and much more resourceful method than going through the tedious process of sending massive letters. I agree that electronic mailing list are a dream come true for people who are constantly on the go or who do not desire to look up their loved ones addresses in their address books because they help to conserve something that many people value: the essence of time. In the busy world that we reside in, sometimes myself and others do not have the time to send out a personalized message to every single person on the mailing list, especially when there is a need for time to study for a test or to run a few errands before the end of a business day. So, mailing lists take one general message and with just a few clicks on the email addresses, the word is out to all the designated individuals. It can alert people of a meeting, class cancellations, or other valuable information that could affect people's schedules. I admire that electronic mailing is instantaneously delivered to the recipient and that it reaches a mass group of people. Electronic emails give the urgent message to large groups of people without having to stand in line at the post office to send it express overnight mail. It tracks the message and if there are any problems, the postmaster immediately notifies the sender to either resend or to re-evaluate the validity of the email address. Now I can easily track down my mail with just a click of a button, instead of crossing my fingers in anticipation that it reached the right destination in due time.

Also, the point that Levine makes about forums and "eavesdropping" on conversations is something that many people, including myself, can relate to. He mentions the fact that people use forums not only as an outlet for self expression, but as a way to find out information from their fellow surfers. I agree that people use their voice not only to give their two cents on an issue, but to have their inquiries answered. For example, on Internet Movie Database, one user wants to find the title of a movie. The person describes the whole plot and the characters, and surely enough the user's question is answered. So, now the person can purchase or rent the movie without having to walk up and down the aisles of a video rental store searching for the mysterious film. The whole point is that if you do not know the answer, then chances are someone else does. This exchange of information and interaction makes people's lives easier because it leaves room for few surprises on general questions (examples: how much sugar to add to cookies or name of a CD) and provides more reassurance that there is some merit to their inquiry. Another benefit I like about the forums are that people can actively participate without having to say a word. All it takes is a little curiosity and a little patience for the surfer to stumble upon an interesting forum. The person may become intrigued by the threads and read what others have to say. The person may not respond through a detailed or witty message, but the person may indirectly participate just by scrolling through the messages boards. Sometimes when I have free time, I like to go onto messages boards and read what people have to say about various issues that are thriving in the media. Sometimes I shake my head, laugh, or sigh at the comments that a user makes. Yet, many people like myself like to, as Levine labels it "eavesdrop" because we desire to hear the voices of others besides ourselves. We want to see how others feel about an issue and their reasoning behind their position. Their comments may add or extinguish the fuel to everyone's fire with their view about the subject. Their comments can sway or push people away in disgust. In the end, everyone gains new and valuable information that they may not have possessed before. Now I see that voices are now starting to take a vivid shape in the Internet and it is now helping to evolve the way that people communicate their feelings about the world around them.

Finally, everyone should check out Jessica's discussion about how companies benefit from electronic mailing lists. She discusses the level of trust that is created between the consumer and the company when they develop messages that speaks directly to individuals. Also, Deanna makes a good point about how chat rooms have gained an infamous reputation and even discusses how web pages are the domains for people to show a creative side to themselves for all to see.