“I don’t deny that I am sometimes on stage and sometimes an audience member (the latter more often than the former). But I’m uncomfortable with the theater metaphor (Shakespeare withstanding), at least in respect to blogging. I think bloggers have readers, not audiences. And I think the distinction is important, if not essential…'[Blogging] is Theater’ is an example of what cognitive linguists call a conceptual metaphor, or a frame. It’s something we think and talk in terms of. Meaning, we borrow a concept (a frame) and and its vocabulary to understand and talk about a subject. There are entailments to the theater metaphor. One is the old top-down media that really were comprised of performers and audiences. Because peer practices like blogging and podcasting don’t require the same asymmetries, why continue to use an asymmetrical frame when symmetrical one will do?”
Put another way, here’s a hypothetical situation. You go to the grocery store, and run into an old friend in the bakery aisle and start getting caught up. Pop quiz: Which one of you is the audience?
There is no hierarchy. There is no power gradient. Neither one of you is the “audience.” Sure, the roles change back and forth as the conversation flows, but, ultimately, it’s a partnership and a collaborative effort and exchange. Sometimes one party may be speaking more, sometimes the other, but at the end of the interaction, the experience that has been shared has been a jointly created one.
Christopher Carfi, CEO and co-founder of Cerado, looks at sales, marketing, and the business experience from the customers point of view. He currently is focused on understanding how emerging social technologies such as blogs, wikis, and social networking are enabling the creation of new types of customer-driven communities. He is the author of the Social Customer Manifesto weblog, and has been occasionally told that he drives and snowboards just a little too quickly.