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The People Are The Potholes on this Highway...

I've posted a few times about the use of the Highway metaphor in WELL conferences, the first one from a topic where someone wondered: will text based conferencing become as quaint and marginal as CB radio is? These two posts are slightly edited for context.

media.758: The Death of the Electronic Frontier
Response #62: (gail) Wed 13 Apr 94

I suppose if I was a creative CB'er, I'd be scoffing at the comparison, but what I love about this technology is that I get to be creative in the company of others.

But then, a humorous riff of banter from our Big Rigs on the dumb old pavement highway might get my pulse going, too, so maybe that's not so different.

Then there's the useful information. "Smokey Ahead" and "Time to lobby against license fees going up again." That's many-to-many stuff, it's good having others on the road to relay the useful info.

And gossip. What happened to that great truckstop in Modesto? What happened *at* it? Plus idle companionship and sly flirtation.

Political debate, taking a place in the CB agora.

Sheesh, this is the first time that the "Information Highway" analogy has ever appealed to me. So, let's pull over and get some coffee and pie...

What a fine raging discussion we had, typed out on the fly.

The other place the Highway image may be instructive is in being sure that the latest model of high performance car and the old clunker sold to a teenager or donated to a charity can both get on, tho the old wreck has to chug along in the slow lane. That's one of the reasons that communications businesses are not like CD ROM games businesses, say. We want to hand down our machines to people we care about.

But mostly, I don't care for the "highway" meme:

media.786: Shoot-out at the Cyber Corral: Time to Call the Sheriff?
Response #33: (gail) Sat 14 May 94 11:17

Your story's yours, but for me, that chapter always ends like this:
No road. There's no road. You're not in a car, steering. You're sitting around a room with people.

If "they" build a road in their minds, we'll have to talk 'em out of their imaginary cars and get them to sit down in our comfy imaginary chairs. And we do it again and again, in the way it was done to us.

And if the room gets too noisy, we'll add on a porch or a second room, and some of the talk can spill over into that space.

However, hyperlinks do make paths. The web can be a bit road-like, in a profoundly tangled way. So shift gears and roar over to my online poem about highways and an old-time phenomenon called Line Noise. Or if you're not up for poetry, jumb back up to the starting line:

- Gail