Remember that well-worn idea; you are holding a dinner party and have the chance to invite any guests, from any time – who you would like to attend?
I’d been giving it some thought over Christmas and, having let my ideas drift, have decided to bring it up to the present a little more. What about if we could use blogging as the vehicle, rather than the dinner party? And, instead of inviting guests from anytime, what if we could consider some other options, like a menu of speakers, or even ideas?
First things first, what about a look at the original format and its pros and cons.
The premise is simple enough; who would you select, from all of history, on the basis of their conversation, ideas, notoriety or the like, to attend your dinner party. With a ‘gem selection’ you would have, in theory, stimulating and provocative discourse for the whole of the evening. The likely limitations? Well, how about these:
- You wouldn’t want anyone who would dominate the conversation. What’s the point of having six influencial figures, only to have one individual dominate the discussion all night long?
- And, ideally, one wouldn’t want to pick six diverse individuals, only to see one topic of conversation hold court at the expense of the others. Thus choosing Mozart might well see music at the fore, while Fermat might sit quietly, listening for the whole night.
- On top of this, history being what it is, this occasion would also, unfortunately, tend to favour male guests, for the most part, particularly when you go back 150 or more years.
So then, let’s come forward to the present day. How might we use blogging to have our “discourse dinner party”? Well, as a suggestion, consider any of the following:
- Using a blog as a space to discuss compelling, unorthodox or provocative ideas. This would extend beyond the usual “make a comment” at the end of a post
- Developing a small group of bloggers, exploring a common theme. Blog spots, such as WordPress, represent an excellent community for finding and fostering like minded individuals
- Using a blog as the transcript of the “night”. Like the old fashioned chess game, carried on through months of correspondence, this could act as the repository for the discourse. Of course, this might operate over a defined period, or a broader, extended timeframe.
- Inviting guest bloggers to attend a “dinner”. This might be on the basis of acting as a stimulus to other bloggers, or the topic being considered.
So, what are the big ideas, the big questions worth considering, defining and debating?
More than happy for you to take all this as your invitation to the dinner… If inclined, feel free to R.S.V.P. (aka Comments?) to get the party started! Not sure how it’ll all go, but that should be part of the fun…