June 5th, 2008

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BTW, the project is *far* from dead -- looking for a few more users

I haven't been posting about CommYou all that much here lately. That's mainly because I don't want to bore you all too much. But the fact is that I'm still deeply immersed in it, practically to the point of obsession, and there's still lots of discussion going on. It's just that, now that CommYou is seriously up and running (and rapidly getting reasonably usable), I'm holding most of those conversations over there instead. We have a small core of folks actively talking, but I'd love to get a few more viewpoints in.

So if you're interested in the topic, I do encourage you to come check it out. It's still early days, and it's not *nearly* as full-featured as LJ yet, but it's mostly getting past the early suckage. (My objective for May was "usable"; the goal for June is "cool, part 1".) And it's relatively easy to follow even if you only check it out once every day or two, due to the "Read New" feature that is at the heart of CommYou: this keeps track of everything that's changed, so you can simply Next through conversations to catch up. (This is the first major difference between LJ and CommYou -- it's easier to stay current with conversations, and keep them going.)

Yes, it does still require getting a Facebook account -- I'll be dealing with that in the course of things, but it'll still probably be a month or two yet before you can simply use it with your LiveJournal login. That said, there's nothing all that horrible about Facebook: it's just another social network, and there's no reason to be allergic to it. So if you're interested, just sign up for Facebook, friend me there (optional, but that's how you'll see my personal postings), and add the CommYou application. Once you do that, you should get the CommYou app in your application list, and can simply Read New to see what's been going on, and Post to start conversations yourself.

It's still early days, but it's pretty damned exciting: I'm dropping releases about once a week, and it's fun to watch the system coalesce. The community over there is heavily involved in shaping it -- most features get some discussion before I implement them, and the commentary there is making a huge difference is helping me make the right decisions. So I invite you to come play, and help me create something really cool!

I'll continue to talk about it here occasionally, and once I think the core features are solid and cool enough, I'll be talking it up a *lot*, and more strongly trying to get folks to use it. But for now, it's mostly for those who want to be part of the creative process. Spread the word to those who you think might be interested.

Oh, and on a related point: I'm thinking of starting a new blog, probably to be titled "The Art of Conversation", on the subject of online text conversation, how it works and how it interacts with communities. That would be more of a public professional blog than an LJ-style one, highly focused on the topic, so it might or might not be hosted here -- it's possible that it would go on Blogger or commyou.com. (Eventually it will move over to CommYou itself, but it'll be a while before I have the right feature set for blogging: that isn't the primary purpose of the system, so those stories are further down the list.) Would you be likely to read that if I created it and set up an LJ feed for it? I'm trying to get a feel for how worthwhile that would be...
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Reflections on dance practice

Last night was the last "official" dance practice of the season -- a fun, rather breakneck-pace by-request session. Jon's organizing a few over the summer on a more ad hoc basis (taught by various people, including one by me), but it won't be the usual every-week deal.

I need the break -- I'm kind of toasty-fried. But it's worth remembering that the actual running and teaching of dance practice isn't the toasty-making part. I actually enjoy that a lot, at least on nights when we have a decent crowd. We've had a number of really good weeks lately, especially when we've had a few people who weren't regulars present to shake things up. Sometimes it's newbies, sometimes it's dancers who don't frequent our practice (last night it was Darius and company from up in Ealdormere, who were passing through town). But I seem to thrive on a bit of variety, and having some people to teach who don't already know everything I'm going to say.

The tiring bits are actually mostly the management and organization: having to come up with a reasonable teaching plan and keeping track of it. The constant feeling that I *should* be introducing more new dances, but don't really have time to do so properly, is rather frustrating. Above all, it seems to be the *responsibility* that wears after a while. I love dancing, and really love teaching dance nearly as much. But *having* to teach, week in and week out, gets tiring after a while -- the knowledge that I can't casually take a week off and decide to stay home, that I can't come in half an hour late because I really need to finish a bit of code, and so on. That's what blurs the line between fun and work for me.

This is why the summer plan suits me well. Teaching a session during that is different: it'll be a special occasion instead of a weekly grind, and Jon's dealing with the organizational overhead. And hopefully having a few months off from it will leave me properly fired up for the beginning of the school year, where we might get a few more novices involved. (I dearly hope the new folks from Ivory Keep stick around -- I like them.)

In general, though, I'm going to have to reflect on how to keep my energy levels up. I suspect I'm going to remain dancemaster for the time being (nobody else is really in a position to take over right now), so I need to ponder how to keep enjoying myself and not let myself get too crispy around the edges...