It's interesting... a lot of us older member who have been together on the Elgg platform feel a sense of "loss" in, I guess I'd call it - intimacy. As someone said SOMEWHERE today, although the message boards were not private, there was a sense of intimacy expressed by posting on someone's message board. And for me it was kind of special to go to that person's page and express something that not only THEY would see, but someone else might see and be curious about. And I learned a lot about what was going on with that member and others, because I could see what someone else had posted. It might have been something like "I'm sorry you're having such a hard time," or, "that sounds like it was neat experience," or "I had the same experience..." just something I might not have known otherwise or missed reading in a blog. OR perhaps it wasn't shared in a blog but was exchanged personally in PMs but was brought to light by the simple phrase of another member saying "I hear you." I wanted to know that they "heard." So I'd go to the other's member's board to see if I could find out. Sometimes I'd deliberately go to someone's page to say something that another member might just happen to see IF they stopped by that person's message board. Well, not so much deliberately, but shall I say "with an awareness" that others who happened by would see it. That kind of communication is very subtle, in that only people who drop by that particular message board will view it (IF they even read another's response there). I would often expand someone's message board view so I could see what other people were saying. And then follow other people by that method. But it was it's own form of delicate communication. Which is not possible here, it seems - that delicacy. Here it's all in kind of all in your face at once.
The Elgg site made us all feel like we were "bonded" in a different way. It appeared to be a smaller community, more intimate. At least in my mind.
What I find interesting, for myself, anyway, is that I am much more open and willing to share myself on this new platform. It could just be that I can post a picture from my own computer instead of having to first upload it to a photo-sharing platform (and that's just FUN!). It could be that BECAUSE of the huge change we're all going through I'm asking questions for the first time in years since I been here and I too feel vulnerable. And this new vulnerability - for me - is very interesting. I've communicated with members that I've known for years on here in ways I never did before. I'm discovering a greater closeness, rather than it's opposite. A new closeness which is kind of neat.
And I'm wondering if new members feel free to just jump in. Whether it's with starting their own conversation or blog, or whether they feel more free to respond. Does the EX Cafe appeal to you, the new member? Do you feel immediately welcome there and want to sit down and have a cup of coffee with everybody else? Or do you feel intimidated? Odd man out? The Newbie?
Or does it really make no difference? Are those members who were shy or hesitant to communicate on the previous platform just as shy on this one? I guess time will tell when we discover how many new members are participating within the community rather than simply lurking.
I'd be interesting in hearing other's experiences. Newbies and Oldbies alike.
I suspect there's a way to create the same sense of intimacy we had. THAT, after all, is what made this EX community unique. I'm just not sure how to get there yet. Nor are any of us. That's why we keep talking about it. But I'm convinced we'll figure it out. It matters too much to just let it go. Ya know? And we're pretty smart cookies here.