She's turning the presentation into a series on how to get strangers to talk to you in different situations.
David Weintraub on how to get over my #1 impediment to taking photos, and therefore learning about the hobby.
Although it doesn't not seem to be getting any traction (
zero comments on my two articles and zero inbound links, and only one mention that I could find, on Kate's weblog), I persisted by going through with a half-an-hour session at BarCamp Vancouver on Saturday about introverts and social software. Nobody took notes, which is fine, I only wanted to ask the question I had written about previously. Six or seven people showed up (depending on whether you consider whether an 8-week-old-baby can attend a session), which was more than the one I expected. At the end, I pointed out my catch-phrase, "my weblog is my social software" (I'm dropping the "networking" since everybody else seems to be), and how through blogging, which is higher-threshold than adding someone as a 'friend' on an external website, I've met far far more people than I imagined possible. I probably wouldn't have been friends with Sacha Peter, whom I finally met the night before after however-many-years it's been, and the guy lives in a suburb of the same city I live in a suburb of!
When we were asked to introduce our sessions at the beginning of BarCamp, someone made a clever joke about shyness/introversion. Something about how I'd be reserved in introducing it (I'm getting it wrong, it as more than a day ago). I actually really enjoy public speaking and wish I could do more of it. I'm looking forward to seeing the photo of Sacha, who self-identifies as an introvert, but who is also a good public speaker and who also seemed to relish the opportunity to talk about something he was deeply interested in, i.e. prediction markets.
My session, just like the others, was only 30 minutes, but it gave me more context and more to think about if people are interested in helping answer the questions I posted on the board (copied below, since search engines can't read my writing), if they haven't already been answered somewhere already.
Social Software for Introverts
- who does Web 2.0 leave out, if anybody?
- how do we build meaningful sustained relationships using social tools?
- encouraging meeting in person using the Web
I clearly forgot that my articles had "Introverts and Social Software", not "Social Software for Introverts", the latter assuming I wanted to build such a thing for shy people, instead of just trying to understand whether and how introverts really use it effectively. And whether they can.
Two days until BarCamp Vancouver and I'm about where I started with my proposed session on social software for introverts: I "only" have questions. The question I can now add to the list is "How do introverts use social (networking) software to sustain a relationship and mutually benefit both/all parties involved?" (I put the word "networking" in brackets because we seem to have forgotten the connection element of sites these days and instead focus on sharing. There's nothing at all wrong with that: through sharing comes relationships; I'm just pointing it out is all.) Those questions arise from two articles on networking, in the sense we know it now meaning meeting and connecting with people in a physical space, often involving the ritual exchanging of business cards. The articles come from Penelope Trunk and Elisa Camahort, especially the latter that notes the importance of sustained relationships.
Now, I don't want to give to impression that I read why Jenny Spadafora thinks that social software is good for introverts before I wrote the above paragraph, so you'll excuse me if I hadn't considered it as much as I have 7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making Us Miserable, which I read a couple weeks ago thanks to Joey's pointer. First a quote from Jenny's article:
As a participant on a social site, I set the risk level. Whether or not I connect my various online haunts is my choice. I can be as open and transparent as possible, or I can be pseudonymous or anonymous. If you bug me, I can just ban you — and never get another message, see another photo, or notice another of your bookmarked links again. And you can do the same.
That strikes me as something that's bad for introverts. As I explained in my article, if social software is going to be truly successful for introverts, it must encourage the physical meeting up of that software's participants. Low-threshold actions like adding someone to a contact list, have the potential to give us introverts the feeling of connecting with someone but in fact risk enabling hiding behind our computer. Reasons #1 and #2 of why we (in general, I assume, not just introverts) are miserable are that we don't have annoying strangers and annoying friends in our lives. Because we can choose who are friends are and who aren't, maybe we risk cutting ourselves off from richer—not necessarily better, but more interesting—experiences that we can turn into something, whether it's a creative work or just something positive like an insight into the human condition instead of just always finding what we want without stumbling onto the awful and the beautiful.
But again, I'm interested in the more simple aspect of connecting with people in a more meaningful and sustained way than "friending" them. Jenny writes about people whose experiences she's read about, and comments that
I realize that I don’t really know these people. Yet that statement feels like a like lie. The truth is, I haven’t met any of them, but I’ve been following them on the web for years. Connecting online counts. It matters to me, sometimes I’m surprised by how much. Connecting online, though it seemed great for the first 6 years I've done it through my weblog, and really was, is not enough. I want social software to make me less of an introvert and a more active participant in my community, and to grow what I consider my community into areas I'd never thought I could imagine possible.
Here in the blogosphere, we get to see the tip of the engineer iceberg--we get the articulate, the socially literate and extroverted. I agree that "people who make stuff need to relate directly with the people who use that stuff", but there's a communications gap there that needs to be filled.
In late August, the organizers have yet to finalize a date, Vancouver will hold BarCamp-style conference titled, appropriately, BarCamp Vancouver. I've started a PubSub feed for the unconference, which I will attend. After BarCamp Toronto, while waiting for my fligh back home at the airport, I started writing out my thoughts about that unconference in particular and unconferences in general (keeping in mind that I have only attended the first day of one of them, of course). Joey explained the concept of BarCamp (really well, I might add), and he says that the confusion about the philosophy of "no spectators" applies
doubly so for events with programmers, mentioning that 75% of them classify themselves as introverts. It's not clear, though, what he prescribes, so my article, still in heavy drafting mode, will attempt a prescription.
Especially interesting are the ideas about introverts and conferences and that "silence is the fullness of possibility"
In a species as hungry for social interaction as ours, a trait that causes some individuals to shrink from the group ought to have been snuffed out pretty early on.