Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Game of Agora

Oh, hi there.

A few days ago, I ran into some interesting folks on Richard Beck's blog, and one of them mentioned liking to get together and talk with people, which made me think ... most of the people I want to chat with, like you, are not here with me in Memphis. You're in all sorts of other weird places around the globe. So I was thinking, why not use the magic of the internets to get everybody together?

If we liked each other a whole, whole lot, we could converse via skype and things like that, but that's not really ideal either. Too little ambience, too much scheduling, too much bandwith, and too much obligation to be your real life self.

But what if we just ... pretend ... to get together? Our get-together would be on this blog, so it would look a lot like a blog post with comments. But instead of discussing a post as yourself, the comments would contain descriptions of your -- I dunno -- avatar moving around in an imaginary space, doing stuff, talking about whatever people are interested in talking about.

I would start with a description of an area where we can interact. A pretty safe third space, since it would be totally made up. The initial post might look like this:


JuJu Bee's Bakery

Walking into JuJu Bee's, it's hard not to be overwhelmed by the flowers. They've been smeared everywhere, in bright pastel reds and blues and greens: on the walls, on the tables, on the ceiling. The only surfaces exempt from the painted garden are the glass counters containing JuJu Bee's wares: breads, cookies, pies.

JuJu Bee is sitting behind the counter, chewing on the butt end of her pen.


And then in the comments, you could create a character and toss him or her into JuJu Bee's, just to see what happens when you interact with one another. For example, suppose Crystal decides she wants to discuss something using the persona of a businessman named Carl. I don't know why she'd want to be a Carl, but bear with me.


[comment: Crystal]

A man in a business suit rolls up on a Segway, parks it near the front door, and walks into JuJu Bee's.

"Hey, sister JuJu!" Carl yells, straightening his sparkly green tie. "How's it going this morning?"

[comment: Me]

JuJu is immersed in the piece of newspaper she holds in her left hand.

"'sokay," she mumbles, scribbling something on the newspaper with her pen. "Three letter word for a scraping tool?"


I suspect the characters will get around to discussing things that people who read this blog like to discuss. I expect that occasionally I'll be pondering a thing, and have a character pop in to talk about it. I think the initial setting will be a sort of beverage shop called Agora. It may not work at all, but I think it could be kind of fun.

Any takers?


Cliff Lee said...

How bout those Rangers. Don't ask me what I was thinking when I moved to Philly.

So is this a bakery or a beverage shop - you mean like a coffee shop? You'd think I could tell from looking around but I'v got this paper bag over my head ever since the Phillies got knocked out of the playoffs by the Cardinals.

Matthew said...

JuJu Bee's bakery is just an example, but it might end up across the street.

Still pondering the actual beverage shop. I'm imagining it as a cross between a coffee shop and a pub.

Sorry about your Phillies. =P

crystal said...

Reminds me of Second Life meets the Socratic dialogues - I like it :)

Christian H said...

I'm intrigued by this idea, but not sure about my time commitment abilities here. Tell you what. You get this happening, and I'll try to stop in every now and again.

Matthew said...


Yes, that's how I was thinking of it too. =)


Neat, that's kind of how things go around here, so that'll work fine.


Well, that looks like a couple of interested people, and a couple is probably plenty. I'll put together some initial posts.

Vincent said...
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