An Experiment in Gendered Discussion Domination

I ran across this very interesting and simple way to measure how much men and women talk in a public space.  It is called “Are Men Talking Too Much?”

 

Are men talking too much?

Check who’s dominating the conversation

Please don’t be aggrieved about the fact that the timer buttons are titled “dude” and “not dude”. That’s part of the humor in this. I am considering using this secretly in my fall comp classes and then trying it publicly. Mostly harmless.

Blind Spots of Engagement

Here is a gif that shows what? Connectedness? Engagement?  Frequency? All of the above or none?

Here is the larger visualization.

Here are my notes on  #digciz tweets from Martin Hawksey’s event hashtag visualization :

I feel engaged with the subject digital citizenship and I am trying to “ante-up” by sharing digital objects that show I am an engaged digital traveller (Storify curation, comic, image quotes, #4wordstory).  What I found is that the gif  above shows I am engaged with people who already know me and are engaged with me.  According to the gif above, I haven’t engaged with any of the principals who have organized #digciz.

So…I have engaged on my end, but only a “few but fine” who want to play crack the whip with me on the other end.  I think this reveals a profound blindspot–if I put the food down where the goats can get to it, they will eat.  Nope.  It is very similar to the classic teacher trope–if I am teaching they are learning.  How does this blindspot feel?  Disappointing and discouraging.  And it hints that either I should dampen my enthusiasm or amplify it.  The former feels like folding and cutting my losses and the  latter like I am doubling down for no good reason other than stubborness (and the few folks who are engaged). Since time is a zero sum reality this feels risky, assuming that Hawksey’s tool measures something more than frequency and reciprocal direction.

2. I share=you share.  This observation dovetails with the number one above, but points to another blindspot:  I assume that because someone doesn’t reciprocate, that they are not a good #digciz.  Is this true?  Is reciprocation a central principle of being a good citizen online?  I use this gif frequently to argue for that position.

Is this true?  Does the visualization measure reciprocation? Is much of what happens in a “citizenship space” hidden just like much of nature is unrevealed and often an unknown unknown? Or is lurking one of those known unknowns that we fail to account for, that is impossible to account for?

Is this visualization good enough to be a roadmap?  I don’t think so for one main reason–it doesn’t take into account emotion.  Venkatesh Rao has some striking comments on this idea:

60/ Uncertainty shows up as felt emotions: anxiety at being late, exhilaration at beating odds, felt freedom at being early, anger at being betrayed, gratitude for being unexpectedly aided.

61/ Your roadmap is simply the landscape of upcoming known-unknowns (including, crucially, around people/trust) made legible enough for your instinctive management behaviors to kick in. 

62/ For this to happen, they must provide a sense of subjective proportion/importance in ways that cue emotional responses to people, events, and new information. 

63/ A roadmap that does not evoke emotion is not a roadmap.

I could argue that this viz amounts to a trust map, but only in the vaguest of ways. Frequency and double-headed arrows don’t equal trust.

3. I think the ultimate blindspot I am finally seeing is that engagement is risky.  It is a risk you choose to take or not.  I am used to giving away my self and go hang the risk, but when confronted with the roadmap visualization above I have to ask whether or not to keep on down this road with this map.  When you reach 60, this is not an idle question.

What I have decided, as John Boyd once remarked, is to fight the enemy, not the terrain.  Fight the blindspot, not the roadmap.  I will carry on for awhile with #digciz with a measure of leeriness and worldly weariness and some forced cheeriness, hoping that the game is worth the candle.