So what makes a listserve so much better for me as a participant thatn a f2f? I've really been wondering about that lately. In watching myself, I've come to understand that I'm not pressured into particpating when the topic doesn't suit my fancy and I'm not considered impolite. (At last I don't think I am) Normally when you're with a group of people and you don't say anything they think you're a big snob or disintereted, which you are, but it hurts their feelings....the listserve has more than enough people to take your place so you lack of comment goes unnoticed.
Also the listserve fortmat relieves you of feeling like you have to comment on everything. Take for example my role as trying to help first year teachers by mentoring them online. So many questions deal with language art topics, which I know nothing about. In a f2f encounter I would feel like I should say something or somehow I would have let them down. But again, I don't....because I don't know enough about LA to help. If they ever get around to asking about math or science or even computers then I can be of some assistance.
I do think, though, that the listserve can be a lonely place because if you are inetersted in something that no one else reallly cares about much, then they don't talk about your area of interest. So the option not to participate goes two ways. While I had no responsibility to participate in a topic that didn't interest me, they hav no obligation to participate in what doesn't interst them. So when I post about something that really moves me.....often, my posts go unanswred or unresponded to. That's a sad feeling because I would so much like to talk about them with people.
So it is a very interesting and delicate balance this listseve world. It is a new insight that I have discovered. I am willing to write about it on my blog, but I am not sure at all that I am willing to share it out in the public forum of the list. I am not sure how to package such an observation because it would need to be a constructive comment and right now I think this is more whinning than something that would be helpful to building up. If there were more science teachers or math teachers, this wouldn't be such a big issue....but the lists are full of writing and reading teachers. They are everywhere. So the questions of course follow those interests.
But it is something I've been thinking about.....