ENTRIES TAGGED "communication"

Sorry I was laughing during your funeral

When contexts collide.

Since the advent of Twitter I’ve often found myself laughing at funerals, crying at parties, and generally failing time and again to say the right thing. Twitter is so immediate, so of the moment, but it connects people across the globe who may be experiencing very different moments.

This first struck me during the Arab Spring. Maybe I was just finishing a nice dinner in Philadelphia and was lingering over a drink, tweeting the usual crap, while a world away Egyptians (and later Libyans and Syrians) were out by the thousands throwing themselves into mortal danger. Of course, they weren’t paying attention to my banalities while they filled Tahir Square and defended Aleppo, but I still floated by. And in any case, my tweet stream was full of their moment, raging past me. Once I noticed the dichotomy, my political witticisms and flippant comments on the news of the day tossed out between bites of my dessert seemed ridiculous as they bobbed downstream amidst all that anger, action, and danger. It just felt so, … inappropriate. I couldn’t help but go silent. A more primitive sense of decorum, evolved while our voices shared common place and time, welled up and shut me up.

I thought of this again the other night but in reverse. I was very fortunate and came through Sandy basically unscathed. But in the late afternoon of the storm I was out in the wind and rain for about an hour and a half trying to stop a water leak that was flowing through my foundation into the basement, while the whole time I had one eye on a 100-foot pine tree that was swaying threateningly over me. When I came back in, soaked through, and with my mind 100% on Sandy and my immediate safety, I checked Twitter out of habit. Naturally, the first tweet I saw was from Darrell Issa, snug in California, tweeting about the latest non-hurricane-related thing he wanted us to rage about. Dammit Darrell, we’re in the middle of a hurricane, we’ll get pissed about Benghazi next week ok?

During Sandy most of us east coasters had just one thing on our minds while our west coast friends’ normal lives continued unabated. We were tweeting about threatening trees, power outages, and 14th street fire balls while they were tweeting about Windows 8, a Yammer user conference, and whatnot. Lots of people on both coasts, who didn’t feel immediately threatened, were making light and telling jokes. In response I saw more than a few tweets along the lines of “not really appreciating the jokes while I watch the water rise.”

When I went about my business during the Arab Spring I used to feel weird, like they might read my tweets and think “Don’t you know we’re dying out here? There you are just living your life. What’s wrong with you?” The other night I had to remind myself that 2,500 miles and the continental divide separated my moment from those of my friends in California. Two streams, naturally bifurcated by geography and current experience, flowed together to mix awkwardly on my phone. Read more…

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Four short links: 6 August 2012

Four short links: 6 August 2012

21C Exploration, Scientific Animation, Communications Explained, and Better Scientific Papers

  1. Deepflight Kickstarter — built like an aircraft, this submersible flies underwater. Saw footage of it at scifoo, looked mind-bogglingly fun. They’re kickstarting the aero(hydro?)batics test of maneuverability and reward levels include trips in it.
  2. WeHi.tvexplains the discoveries of scientists at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute through 3D animation. The beautiful work of Drew Berry, who also did animation for Bjork’s Biophilia music app.
  3. A Communications Primer — Ray and Charles Eames (“Powers of Ten”) lay out the work of Claude Shannon and Norbert Weiner and others for Mr and Ms Ordinary. (via Linda Doyle)
  4. Scientific Communication as Sequential Art (Bret Victor) — gloriously comprehensible rewrite (using interactive diagrams instead of math) of a classic social graph paper (Watts and Strogatz).
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Empowering digital diplomacy at the edge of the network

Empowering digital diplomacy at the edge of the network

The State Department launched new Twitter accounts in Arabic, Farsi, Russian, Spanish, Hindi and French.

When the State Department launched new Twitter accounts in a number of languages, it provided an opportunity for digital diplomats to engage in a global conversation at the edges of the network.

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Dancing out of time: Thoughts on asynchronous communication

Why asynchronous communication scales, and what we can do with that power.

Terry Jones examines the core differences between synchronous and asynchronous communication, and he looks at how technology has given asynchronous methods tremendous reach. (Part 1 of a 2-part series.)

Comments: 6
Where's the continuity?

Where's the continuity?

As seen in comic books, continuity has long been considered a function of good fiction. Here's a simple question: in your reading, your writing, your speaking, your programming, what are you doing to create and absorb context and continuity? I believe there are ways to achieve this in almost every field, and I believe this is an important part of what sets the elite apart from the non-elite in terms of communication.

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bot

Web technologies often allow you to scale things that weren't scalable before. Unfortunately, that list of scalable things includes spam. From unsolicited phone calls to unwanted emails to unnecessary tweets, it can seem like we're getting progressively overloaded with information we don't necessarily want. One group blamed for the increase in online spam are Twitter bots – Twitter accounts created…

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A Climate of Polarization

We are entering an new era of seismic change in policy, business, society, technology, finance and our environment, on a scale and speed substantially greater than previous revolutions. More than ever, we need to create space for learning, communication and understanding.

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Twitter Faces Ramifications of Not Being Global

Twitter, the microblogging service, has had an uneven rollout of an economic model, and was never able to come to good terms on payments for instant messaging (SMS) through its application with mobile carriers abroad. Consequently, it has limited its instant message functionality to North America. On his blog, White African, Erik Hersman talks about the ramifications when you…

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Open Question: Do You Use Twitter?

Mediabistro recently conducted an informal round-up of publishers and authors who use Twitter to publicize titles and interact with readers. Within TOC, we use Twitter (plug: follow us here) to exchange quick bursts of information and story ideas, and we've also found it to be a surprisingly effective beat coverage tool — breaking stories and new memes often appear…

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