This week I used screencasting as my rich media, and went through the WELL as I’ve been participating in it. I’ve been a member for two weeks now – it’s been an enjoyable experience, but I kind of feel like I’m time traveling. It definitely does have more of a communal feel to me than other social areas on the internet, different from something like Facebook or a general messageboard.
There are two main characteristics that have stood out to me so far:
1) The minimal, old school design and lack of advertising (made possible through paid monthly subscriptions).
2) The content of the conferences (I’d argue they’re full of intelligence and “class”), and the dedication that the members have to participating (many 20 years+).
I find myself writing posts on the WELL similar to how I would write something like a blog post for this class. I spellcheck, make sure my arguments and thoughts make sense, and make sure I’m adding to the conversation. I think about my actions way more. Maybe because I’m writing to strangers? Maybe because I’m an “outsider”/newbie as most members are at least familiar with each other (any many have been for years). It’s definitely different from how I would communicate on other online platforms. More conclusions next week.