It’s the conversations that matter

Over the last few weeks I have written some things that may, at first glance, appear as anti social, or anti-relationship rants. That was certainly neither my intent, nor the actual sentiments voiced, but shallow readings will always yield somewhat incomplete analyses.

The overriding reason for throwing this many words on the same subject into the universe was indeed the sheer quantity of shallow engagements in the social space, all predicated on the notion that we are supposed to communicate with everyone in hopes of future business. The few thoughtful comments then always stand out amidst the noise, at least to me.

There is untold power in one comment, if it is thoughtful, not left in a hurry; where the author took then time and care to actually learn something about the person they were addressing. No amount of clicking the like button or RTs can compete with one or two phrases that can connect with the other person on a human or intellectual level. Indeed, sometimes, it’s one word that can make all the difference in whether a relationship of some kind will develop or not, and that, to me, is where the magic of social happens.

Here is a very brief example of a very quick conversation.
(note: I am not using this example because it’s the best illustration, it is clearly not, but simply because it’s mine, and hence I can use it).

I was followed by a gentleman whose name I didn’t know.  He said something sweet in the follow message.  I went to his profile and scrolled through his tweet screen and one word caught my attention.  Not so much that he used it, but it was in just the kind of context that only having read and enjoyed Stranger in a Strange Land would have made possible…  So I twitted this:

an intro to a new person...

first contact...

And got this back:

conversations on tweeter...

shaking hands moment?

And so now after a few more tweets on the subject of those kinds of books, I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my copy of  Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks, whose work I’ve never read, but something tells me will rather enjoy.

similar interests - trust

trust-building? Maybe.

This kind of interaction isn’t something that any algorithm will ever be able to adequately measure, and that is as it should be. It’s also not something you can learn in a webinar or glean from a how to ebook, any more than we can learn decency or ethics from same. It requires a bit of caring and inherent curiosity about people, in much the same way a great conversation in real life requires the ability and the desire to peek into someone else’s world, if not to delve deeply, even if only for a few brief moments. It’s harder to do in a status update or a 140 character tweet, but those are the kinds of interactions that lead to those all important connections, relationships and friendships.

Is the above-referenced example still somewhat shallow?  You bet, especially if compared to some of Jeff Turner’s twitter convos, but I’ve already said elsewhere that he is much smarter than I am…  The takeaway for me when it comes to conversations in the virtual world, whether deep or not-so-much, the effective ones will required curiosity and listening.

Given a choice between building meaningful connections through conversations or broadcasting my wares to the world in hopes of attracting larger and larger number of followers or likes, who deep down have no interest in either my business or my person, – I will take one meaningful connection a year over a 100 random likes. And, as counter-intuitive as it may sound, the pragmatist in me believes that social is not a numbers game. It’s a conversation game.

How do your social conversations stack up?

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7 Responses to It’s the conversations that matter
  1. Teri Conrad
    October 9, 2011 | 12:02 pm

    You, Todd and Jeff are three brilliant people…it occurs to me that many conversations would be very shallow to the three of you! I often find myself at a loss for words or withholding commentary because I simply have nothing more to contribute that hasn’t already been said….BUT having said that…I believe, and enjoy the exercise of, considering an idea more deeply and forming some context and structure around it. There is nothing more gratifying to me than a meaty, juicy debate and some new perspective….that is why I love your blogs! Cheers!

    • Inna Hardison
      October 10, 2011 | 4:02 pm

      I am far from brilliant, Teri, but you are very sweet to lump me in with Jeff and Todd:-) It made me smile… As for shallow – I watch Family Guy, so really, I am not so much looking for deep philosophical arguments to occur within a span of a 140 character tweet or an FB status update. I know what the chances of that are, and so my expectations are lowered to meet the medium. That said, I am not looking for deep so much as a bit of consideration. A bit less of “nice post, thanks for sharing, who the heck are you again, and why am I commenting on your wall..?”

      Sometimes, of course, things do get meaty, and it’s a joy, but even the shallow, when thought was given, will suffice.:-) As always, great to see your happy face popup!

  2. Andrew Lenza
    October 7, 2011 | 8:30 pm

    Don’t people reach a depth to their lives? We’re born shallow. Experience puts a spade to us. My grandfather died in his seventies; my grandmother in her nineties. She complained “he left me too early.” None of us enjoys a monopoly on persepective. You gain it through the best (and worst) possible ways.

    • Inna Hardison
      October 10, 2011 | 4:04 pm

      My dear Lenza – but of course. As stated earlier, the monopoly on perspective here was mine alone. I was simply ‘fishing’ for kindred spirits:-) Good to see you, sir, and miss reading your words.

  3. Missy Caulk
    October 7, 2011 | 4:14 pm

    Glad you are getting to know Todd, he is a good friend and awesome!

    • Inna Hardison
      October 7, 2011 | 4:25 pm

      Thx Missy – he seems pretty cool indeed! And he keeps good company:-)

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