Some time ago I made a deal with myself – that when my blog hit the 3000 comment mark, I would ask the person who contributed comment 3000 to write a blog post. That “lucky person” was Angus.
But rather than do a guest post, Angus suggested that we play battleships and chat. But between client meetings, late nights and general busy-ness, we have not been able to get together - so the next best thing – this list of questions was sent through. And I am only just now getting around to posting it – sorry Angus! But somehow, I have ended up writing my own guest post (note to self: find other guest bloggers):
1. What have you learned about people from communicating with them on Twitter?
People share surprisingly intimate details of their lives via Twitter. I don’t know whether this is a genuine desire to connect, a symptom of our culture of self-performance or a confession – but it is definitely fascinating. As a result, I have learned that people are far more generous and more open online than they often allow themselves to be in “real life”.
2. Why do people try and tell me how to use twitter? No-one told me how to use Facebook – I could decide to have as many or as few friends as I wanted and share whatever information I wanted. Why do people seem to think you should use twitter 'their' way?
I think there are two aspects to this. First, there are people who think they might make some money from providing advice or consultancy (or just drive traffic to their website). Second, it is human nature – we become so caught up in our own lives and interests that we think everyone should think the way we do. This also happens with new babies and with holiday snaps.
3. Do you think 'ambient intimacy' could breed laziness or complacency, or is it enriching relationships?
I think we are already experience laziness in our relationships anyway. We can blame our work schedules or our commitments or a million other things, but this trend towards personal isolation has been happening since the 50s. Like any relationship we only get out what we put in and online relationships are no different to offline relationships.
4. Do you think online relationships have made us more or less tolerant offline?
Because online relationships are traceable (ie you can’t hide), I think this is driving some change in our tolerance levels. If we are horrible to work with, but “nice” online, it eventually catches up with us (and vice versa). Thanks to Google our reputation precedes us.
5. Do you think the nature of online conversation is ever different in Australia to other parts of the world and why?
People from different cultures experience online identity and conversation in different ways. Australians, for example, participate in ways which are different from Americans, which is different from folks from India, China or Germany. This is not really unexpected – we would scarcely arrive in another country and expect it to be the same as home (why else after all would we travel?).
6. Name three people who inspire you at the moment.
I have been very fortunate over the last year to fall into a circle of friends who inspire me with their generosity and the simple way that they care for each other. Jye Smith, Julian Cole and Scott Drummond make me optimistic for the future.
7. What gets your goat the most at the moment?
People who tell others how to use Twitter.
8. What's the biggest benefit of storytelling in your view?
A good story connects us with the emotion of life. Or as Kafka wrote, it is “the axe for the frozen sea inside us”. When hit with the axe, all pretence falls away. We cannot hide. I love that.
9. Does Twitter help or hinder with storytelling?
Having access to pens and paper doesn’t make us a great writer – so too with Twitter. In the hands of a great storyteller, Twitter can be a marvel.
10. When are you going to visit Marcus in Germany and will you help him steal Armano's cowboy hat?
I was hoping to have visited Marcus by now. I really expected to visit Germany for work last year – but it never happened. And while I don’t mind travelling for work, I also feel guilty about having a carbon footprint the size of a small European country. We may need to maintain our ambient intimacy for the foreseeable future.
As to Dave’s hat, I believe it is under constant security. But given the chance, I will snaffle it!