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Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’

I’ve recently been acutely awakened to the fact that our modes of communication have a very bad side effect as illustrated in this comment by my good friend Rachel.

“If it can’t be understood in a 30 second sound byte America doesn’t get it.”

I am indeed guilty of such brevity in many ways. Every twitter feed, status and mini-post I make can be recalled as only a small sound byte in the full orchestral movement that is my life.

This actually limits my freedom. My freedom of speech in a way. It limits my ability to fully address all issues that have a sense of gravity in life, because nothing that is important is without debate and complexity. The “brevity bias” as I will call it, is sensational and appeals to a visceral reaction. It doesn’t allow for all the facts to be brought to the table. It is not patient, it is not humble, and it is not forgiving. The brevity bias is not forgiving because  it breaks each statement into it’s one full and complete statement without giving ear to context which is everything when understanding statements of power. It suppresses our ability to truly communicate and be understand only giving clues to the audience giving them control to interpret based on their own context.  It also limits my topics. Wanting to be fully understood and understand other points of view, I avoid topics of controversy knowing that and sound byte of info is not enough to give respect to important topics. So if I do know find an outlet that allows me this freedom, I in fact bind myself via my modes of communication.

I fully admit that these forms of communication have a place in our arsenal of communication, but they must augment it as a piece in the puzzle rather than drive it. For someone who spends a lot of time in the social media world this can be difficult to find the right place for it. Recently in his address to the 2010 graduating class of the University of Iowa Tom Brokaw made this statement. “It will do us little good to wire the world if we short circuit our souls. And you should not surrender the essence of the human experience to 146 characters on Twitter or a Facebook page however cleverly designed it may appear to be. No text message will ever replace the first kiss. No keyboard will ever take the place of someone you love nor will it spell out for you just what love is. That irreplaceable condition of the human experience.”

My hope is that we’ll find the patience to think before we act based on a well informed position  so we can act with civility, rather than viscerally.

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I remember a day in 1995 when my college room mate told me that he once wasted $8.95 to call his friend from one of those mid-air phones they used to have on planes. I thought he was both cool and stupid all at the same time. Until about 20 minutes ago, I felt the need to blow $12.95 on four hours of internet on a flight to the west coast mostly for the justification of making sWifi onboardure that I had a car rental and to login to some work things. Really I won’t login to work, but it makes me feel better about having the capability to do so.

I wonder how I’ve gotten to this point. Feeling the “need” to be connected even at 20,000 feet.  I reminisce of the days gone by when I drilled a hole in the floor of my parents house to run the only phone line we had in my parents bedroom to my room, so I could get on a BBS and download the latest C64 games. And then I think geez, that actually took us a lot longer I thought it would. From 14.4 in 1985 to Inflight High Speed Connectivity. (2010) 25 years. Yikes. I’m old. But still very much connected!

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I can’t tell if this is a compliment or not.

http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/03/blogging-is-good-for-your-social-life-study/

What do you think?

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I’ve been quite surprised how much I’ve liked blogging this time round. I have to admit I had some reservations about getting back into it this late in the game. None too surmountable though.

There is however one side effect, I’m not sure I was counting on. While I’m well aware of the nuances and concerns of “posting” your life online, it all becomes more worrisome when the effects surprise you in ways you hadn’t thought of before.

Mostly it has to do with the blurring lines between my online life and my real life. Now honestly, I’ve spent a lot of time studying other’s people’s online behavior. I get paid to know that stuff. So I feel like I have a handle on how I’m exposing myself and what the risks are. What happens when your online life collides with your “real” life unexpectedly? There are anecdotes of how to protect yourself, fortunately the ill effects at this point have only managed to create a minorly awkward social scene for myself. (Welcome to my world.)

So here’s the situation. I have several friends who also have blogs that I check regularly, and because I’m curious, I check their friends blogs as well from time to time. Which is really the point of having a blogroll. However, this by it’s nature it creates a situation where I know some things about people I don’t really know, creating this false sense of familiarity.

Last weekend, I ran into a friend of a friend who had a blog that I had read. Normally I would have gone through the normal, “Nice to meet you, get to know you type friendly banter, which for the most part I like doing because I love getting to know people. So when the opportunity to talk to this person clearly presented itself (btw, we’ve met prior to this event, but I would only equate them to a pleasant acquaintance) my first thought was, “Hey I saw your blog and that’s an interesting thing you said….”, and “I know these 10 these things about you….”, and “That’s a great picture…..blah, blah, blah.” (Looking at it in 20/20 hindsight I shouldn’t have hesitated, and been up front about it , because they put it out there right?) Here’s how the thought process went in my head. “Is that weird that in my head I feel like I know you? It feels dishonest that I should be asking you questions I already know the answer to. How do I not come off like a weirdo stalker, with no life of his own? ” …only imagining that if I brought up things I think I know about this person might create some cause for concern. “I’m not trying to do anything nefarious, even though I feel like it……just be friendly, come on, kick in the charm….. this is what you do dude! You’re a nice guy. Let’s go… spit it out!”

Now I’m in awe of the human brain, because all of these thoughts went through my head in about three to four seemingly moment crushing seconds when I’m sure the loss for words showed on my face in a blank stare, that was undoubtedly not quite friendly enough to hold any interest for the other person. I’m in my early 30’s and I still find ways to create social weirdness that makes me feel like a12 year kid at his first school dance.

The irony of my putting this whole thing out there, is that the person of whom I speak could quite possibly be reading this post! Maybe that’s the reason for my openness now. A little confessional to clear the air. I’ll never really know, but then again that’s the perceived therapy in blogging. The sad thing is that a week later I’m bothered enough about it to write a post! The person in question I’m sure is oblivious.

Personal lesson learned? Go with your instincts, just be up front, if you come off creepy, deal with it and remind people they have the control.

You might just remind your friends that as much as you think only your friends are reading your posts, it’s all out there folks.(Those stat meters don’t lie.) There are great ways to protect yourself, so use them and expect anything.

A friend once said to me regarding awkward social situations, “The greatest and most surprising disappointment about adulthood is that it never gets any easier.” Given this experience I might have to agree with them. But I think the key to overcoming most social awkwardness is to make sure you’re focused on other people, not yourself and recognize that we’re all in the same boat, very clearly everyone has their own brand of crazy. Happy Blogging! I hope I didn’t scare you off.

If there ever was a soundtrack to this experience this mashup would be it.

Check it out: Arty Fufkin’s Crazy Logic Mashup

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