The art of Conversation

Have you noticed? Lately online it is all about “conversation”. It’s the new buzzword in town that shall be listed in Vogues Great Guide Of Words To Drop @ The Next CocktailParty (have you noticed the “@”?). Conversation online. In social media. Because, you know, nomen est omen: it is about conversing with people, having a chat with attitude, talk on steroids. Bidirectional swapping of digital thoughts. Dialogue for the brainy ones :-).

Now, do not get me wrong. I’m all for it. I love “conversing” online, swapping witty reflections with notorious clever people with a laser sharp vision. I love the gentle battle of like wired minds, the old jousting with rock solid arguments.

Mind you, I do enjoy intercultural reflections on life, the universe, everything, even with people I only know as a slightly silly, greenish one eyed Avatar.

But what bothers me lately is that some virtual nitwits these days position it as a “sine qua non” for digital presence; as a “must do”. As a “have to”.

I hate “have to’s”. I listen to everyone. Most is not interesting, short of even vaguely amusing. Some is nice. Some is intriguing. Some triggers desire to engage, comment, swap, battle, encourage…. I gladly succumb to these feelings…. Because I want to. Not because some digital guru with a fan club thinks it is a wise thing to do.

You’re seduced in a conversation, invited into one, sweet talked into one, maybe even bribed into one… but never ever forced into one 😉

Conversing is an art form of connecting, persuading, pairing up. You have a conversation going on, or not. There is no grey zone. It’s a war on my terms 😉

So you, conversation manager, better be a darn good artist….

“Conversation should be with people who give a rip what you have to say, not just anyone with a frontal lobe”

New pandemy: The Social Media Guru disease…

Really, I don’t care what people are doing for a living. As long as they get at it in an honest, professional and preferably passionate way I am game. And my vision is that it takes as much effort and skill to be a good mechanic than a trusted brain surgeon.

But I’m getting a bit tired –must be my advancing age- that any weirdo with half a broadband connection, 9 friends on Facebook and a couple of dozen followers on Twitter suddenly labels himself a Social Media Guru. SMG’s spread quicker than a field of rabbits on Viagra and sell themselves hard and expensive. Way too many have no clue on life, the universe, everything.

It takes more than an occasional Internet visit to guide people around the digital spider webs out there, and I am a bit weary with people who try to do it on a guessed estimate. Having a healthy sense of communication strategy, social interaction laws, agogics, and the ability to calculate a healthy ROI for clients should be mandatory. Most often, it’s not even an option. 🙂

Clients wanting to buy Social Media Services often are way too inexperienced with the new game in town to be able to safely choose the right partner. I just hope that –as always- the wannabees will fall through the ice soonest.

This video shows what I mean. You might not want to click on it if you’re sensitive to a stronger language…

Un-publish, un-list, un-friend…

Millions of people all around the globe dived happily into the web, blending in with countless social networks, publishing their personal blogs, sharing their private videos and pictures, and creating huge webs of countless social contacts. Web 2.0: the web is us, you know…

Few people did it smartly, realizing that personal information, personal data, and private lives are precious and deserve high protection. Few people were careful on what to share with whom, what to publish and where, and how to deal with incoming digital requests.

Others are slowly waking up in a digital nightmare, wondering where it all went wrong.

My prognosis for 2009 is that it is going to be a year of “un-publish”, “un-list”, and “un-friend”. A year where people will try to scale down the enthusiast openness with which they hurried themselves and their families into Flickr, YouTube, Facebook and the like.

Because, yes, there is a difference between a “digital” friend, and the normal notion of “friend”. Because Facebook labels contacts as “friends” does not necessary mean that it is wise to share life, data and all pictures blindly with the hundreds of people in the “friends”-list.  Would you share your half naked pictures with all the people in your phones dial list? With all the people on the mailing list of your company? So why are they open and unprotected on your Facebook again?

And the millions of very revealing pictures on Flickr? Tanned girlfriends on sunny  beaches, drunken in-laws, sweaty Karaoke sessions…. all to share with colleagues and business contacts as well?   And though I love cute babies, finding unprotected pictures of the helpless thingies draped on their innocent sheepskins on MySpace accounts and other picture sites makes me extremely uneasy. Do people not realize that everyone might be watching?

Tread with care. The web is a social place. It is not a protected area where you only meet friends. Chose carefully what to share. Protect your intimate life, your dignity, your reputation, and your loved ones.

Once it is online, it is in the open. Pretty much for ever.  On the web “un-something“ is a myth…

Microblogging in the cold

Bizarre thing, this web 2.0. Even hiding on a lonely hilltop in Nolleval, France -thoughtfully comtemplating a froze lake- does not prevent one from updating friends all over the planet with a simple microblog site as Twitter. Just curious what leading trend watchers as Marian Salzman and co make of this new phenomenon? It is addictive, fur sure…

A bridge too far…

I do love viral marketing. Visual messages on the web can be great fun. To make, or to watch. Very often, viral actions make me smile, or grin. But just sometimes they are way way over. See what I mean?  😉

Viral does not work. Tell everyone you know…


A two minute tongue-in-cheek tutorial on viral movies. It sounds easy, no?  😉

Web 2.0: beware of the dark side!

  I discovered a picture of a girl that was once in my class. On the internet. Posted by an angry ex-boyfriend. A stolen snapshot on a sunny beach, way too revealing. I do not know how she deals with it, if she has not changed too much, she is probably heartbroken. And, seen the nature of the picture, maybe career broken as well.Too many people potentially damage their future careers (and lives) with details about themselves they post on social networking websites. The Information Commissioner’s Office (IC0) just issued some serious warning to generation Y.  The commission said the youngsters needed to be aware of their electronic footprint. The cost to a person’s future can be very high if something undesirable, or too revealing is found. Be careful, it is dangerous out here! 

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