The World Cafe Community

Hosting Conversations about Questions that Matter

I'm curious about how we are in cafe online. From my perspective, the world cafe community has a unique opportunity to offer the online world a social space that is shaped by a specific intention and container that is the essence of world cafe.

What is that and how can it show up here? What is the space that you who is reading this would like to create here? How would you like for it to feel? What would make this as alive and juicy for you as sitting at a table with markers and flowers between us and a meaningful question guiding us? What supports awakening and engaging collective intelligence through conversation? How can this platform of connectivity invite and support such emergence here? What is ‘being in café’ online? And what might be unique about being here in this online café (verses being in email or using another social media tools)?

A final question I have for those of you who are reading... what would entice you to want to keep returning to this site?

Thank you for the invitation and encouragement to play in this formative space.

curiously yours,

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Hi dear Ashley,
Wow, those are wonderful questions! I'll do a quickie response and then give it some more thought. What makes this space alive for me (even now in the beta stage) are all the possibiities for "wandering around" in a fun way--just like we go wandering around among ideas in a Cafe conversation and then begin to see what the patterns might me.

I also love that I can be notified when something interesting that's related to a conversation I care about (like this one) comes into my mailbox so I can hop back into whatever round of the conversation is unfolding. I liked being able to invite friends in because the World Cafe, as you know, has co-evolved through friendship and I think friends telling friends is a powerful way for these ideas to spread.

This platform of connectivity has the potential to truly enable the "magic in the middle" to reveal itself...with people participating simultaneously in different conversations where cross-pollination can occur.

Those are initial thoughts....more to come. What do others think?

By the way, I don't know how to add tags to a post...but I think you might want to add some tags like--on-line community building, on-line collaboration.

I love how you show up online, Ashley, and this is just another example of it. Fabulous photo too! :-) I'd love to hear more about what comes up for YOU in response to these questions ...

I agree that the World Cafe has a unique opportunity here. One of the reasons is that as World Cafe practitioners we already know how to build a culture in which deep listening and inquiry can occur; we have the ability to hold space and invite diversity of thought; we've cultivated an awareness of what it takes to offer "hospitable space". The opportunity I see is to bring these same capacities to our online conversations.

I see the opportunity to create the "safe space" here that we share in our World Café circles, a place where we can explore freely in an atmosphere of trust and appreciation.

Part of what makes this space alive and full of meaning for me is that people like you ask questions like these. Having the opportunity to explore questions that truly matter to me with people I am stimulated and informed by is a blessing.

And Juanita - Bravo to you for your acute understanding of tagging! Beautiful! (I'll add the tags you suggest)

In Gratitude,

Thanks Juanita and Amy for jumping in. Here's a bit of what I'm hearing

cafe online...

... is hosted by people committed to cultivating hospitable space
... a spirit of wandering around is invited
... provides structures that make it easy for people to be in the conversations you want to be in
... encourages people to invite friends to join in, and allow what is emerging to spread
... has shared practices for deep listening and inquiry
... holds space for and invites diversity of thought
... people are asking about and exploring questions that matter
... simultaneous participation allows for the magic in the middle to reveal itself
... builds upon an already established field of previous experiences of being in deep listening together
... aims to create "safe space", intimate space, space for free exploration, grounded in trust and appreciation
Dear Ashley:

1• CONTRIBUTE your thinking
2• SPEAK your mind and heart
3• LISTEN to understand and to learn
4• INQUIRE by asking open questions
5• LINK and CONNECT ideas
6• LISTEN TOGETHER for insights, patterns and deeper questions
7• Play, doodle, draw - writing on the tablecloths is encouraged

Café-Etiquette for a Virtual World Café:
1. Yes
2. Yes
3. Yes
4. Yes
5. Yes
6. No (maybe Yes)
7. No (maybe Yes)
8. Definitely Yes

What about a delicious colombian coffee cup?
Yes, I LOVE the Colombian coffee cup!! (and of course the rest of your offering as well!)
Con carino,
Hi Luis!

I think definitely yes to #6 as well - when we get a conversation going with a few people and some real energy moving there is definitely an opportunity to listen together "into the whole" and begin to share our insights on that "meta" level. Perhaps it's a question of whether we can do something "together" without being in the same time and place ... I think it's possible ... Let's try!

As far as #7 - you're right, doodling isn't that easy to do online :-) but we can upload our doodles and share them, can't we? And perhaps our photos and videos are doodles on some level as well.

And DEFINITELY YES to the delicious Columbia coffee cup! :-)
How about "Why Not?" to all of our current No and Maybe items. I started experimenting with Twitter, Flickr, Skype and Netvibes last year for a Virtual World Cafe mashup. Netvibes is the aggregator into which the RSS from multiple Twitter accounts for "table" groups would feed. With digital photos or images of collaborative whiteboard drawings and doodles fed via email into one or more Flickr accounts, you could have real time interaction. Skype conference calls for each table group would give you audio and text chat.

I've attached an image that a friend created of how this would be blended with F2F for a large scale approach. What do you think?
Dearest Ashley~
Your message is a perfect example of what would entice me to keep returning to this site. That is, it invites introspection. There is such a sense of connectedness and oneness here that begs one's "highest" input. I show up to "be in cafe" with an acute awareness of the unfoldment that will take place both within my Self and within the whole community as a result of my being here. Your questions have really left me with lots to think about, and that is what will keep beckoning me back. It is the collective intention of TWC to want to know what's on my mind.

Light to you.........
Reading this and Ulrich Soeders Conversation about leadership and dialogue I have the feeling that both conversations deal with the question: What holds communities together, what is the glue of communities.
In this case here it is,: what's the glue of an online community, of this community.
What makes me come back?
I have the opportunity to connect with people around topics that matter to me. It is a space, where we can practice resonance. Which questions resonate to whom?
For me it's very often the stories which are shared, that nourish me, that attracted me so much to the WC community. And the creativity potential, doodeling, colours, pictures...using differnt areas of our consiousness to rediscover resonances and thus reinvent our future. We are inviting other people to cocreate a shared picture of the future we seek to create.
I love the picture of the two laptops, two candles being connected through a way, line, made out of stones.
But there is something I misslike about this picture too: Two Computers in one room and people are more and more communicating mainly through internet, Computer instaed of meeting in real life. Sometimes I miss conversations or things online, because I prefer to be in the garden, to cook, eat and sing together and very often I'm scared seeing my daughter not going outside but sitting infront of her computer and chatting around waiting for someone to show up...
warm regards Ilona

What is it about the picture that makes you think computers are INSTEAD of "real" life?

For me, since it is a fact that more and more of us are by necessity communicating about real issues and cultivating real relationships online, for real reasons, I want those communications to be as heart and soul-connected as they can possibly be. I want them to be connected to the natural world, and to our bodies as well as our minds. So the photo really resonates deeply with me.

It's never instead of, and always in addition to.

You're right that we have to stay aware of keeping a balance in our lives, and not get caught up in unconscious behavior but I don't think unconscious behavior is by any means limited to our (or our children's) use of the online medium. :-)


Ashley, you pose an interesting question. Sustaining an online conversation is difficult. First the question must matter. And then participants must have enough passion around the question to continue to talk and share. People cannot feel ignored as they will drop off. And follow on questions may be important. I am drawn in and at the same time perplexed by online conversations. I have a hard time staying connected. I lose interest quickly particularly if the forum ends up being a soap box rather than a conversation. Difficult to create I think. I will keep coming back because my practice is conversation and I have a strong emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and application tie to TWC. Thank you for your question.



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