Is there anyone in the world that doesn't get irritated by people talking in the cinema? You are mentally 'somewhere else', then you get dragged back into the darkened room with the sticky carpet and popcorn on the floor. You lose your immersion and sometimes the plot. Being asked about the plot, well that's another perfect way to make sure you miss something. This is all so obvious and so cliched that I shouldn't need to mention it. So why when we are engaged in a collaborative coming-together to watch a presentation or video livecast or some other info-share in the metaverse do we suddenly think that back-channels are the greatest thing since sliced time? The chat channel will be buzzing,IMs will be flying, people will be diverting each other off to tweets and plurks and various other trendy emmissions. And all of this is suddenly good, and I'm immediately a dinosaur for saying otherwise. Well there has been a big debate raging recently over this on the ThinkBalm Linked-In group. One post summed up my feelings perfectly, and with the permission of the author, Christopher Simpson, Professor of English at George Brown College I've copied it here:   more »