This past First Day morning, four of us from the meeting served on a panel of Friends to talk about our experience on the internet. Three of us are active in the Quaker blogosphere, though to different degrees; the fourth has a website to address his concerns for care for the Earth.
The panel was suggested in part because it seems as though the Quaker blogosphere is disproportionately represented by a single meeting, though I can't say that for sure.
In addition to myself, there was Paul L from Showers of Blessings and occasional commenter James R from Nontheist Friends. Originally, fellow blogger Pam was scheduled to participate on the panel, but her plans shifted. In her stead we invited Gaia Troubadour Richard from Gaia Voices.
After we each identified the blogs, websites, and listservs we typically access, Paul L gave a wonderful overview of the various types of websites and services out there, from online libraries to listservs and blogs, organizing them from least interactive to most interactive. (Perhaps he or James will figure out a way to put his handout online...).
For Friends who maybe were internet-shy, I also had prepared two identical packets to be passed around that contained print-outs of a number of homepages, so folks could get an idea of what a Quaker blog aggregator looked like (e.g. QuakerQuaker and Planet Quaker); and what each of our own blogs and websites looked like as well.
Even though the turnout was only slightly bigger than the number of Friends serving on the panel (!), the questions and comments were very rich. Rather than share any responses that were offered, I'll let these questions remain for others to consider:
Does the internet break down or undermine face-to-face interaction and genuine person-to-person contact?
If "all of us" are always blogging (or emailing or...), who's doing any listening?
What do we give up in our life in order to have time to use the internet for email, blogging, and so on?
What made us start to blog? Why do we continue blogging?
Is the quickness of the internet and the convenience of post-comment-respond a good thing?
Are traditional Quaker journals and magazines (e.g. Friends Journal) weakening in their content as a result of blogs?
Martin Kelley (Quaker Ranter) writes about his own experience at an adult education program.