Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's not what we do, it's who we are.

...or, "My take on social media, pt II".

See, it occured me the other day, that people have been for a very very long time defined by what they do. Sure, there have been royalties and icons, celebrities and famous people, who have reached a pinnacle where what they did didn't really matter anymore, just THAT they did it, whatever it was.

Most other people were, to a large extent, defined by what they did. Not to their family and friends, of course, who knew them intimately, but to any stranger they met on the street, at a convention, at a party or wherever. "Hi, I'm a manager at the Bank of XYZ!" "Oh, ok, I'm actually one of the janitors at Bank of XYZ".

Or "Hi, I develop cross media formats!" "Yeah, me too!".

I think you can see where the discussion would flourish and where it would probably end with a quick "cheers!" and parted ways.

I know, I'm being a bit stereotypical, just bare with me for a second... :)

But now, eh? Twitter being the most obvious example at the moment. What got me thinking was that the other day I commented on a friend of mine doing a speech at a conference. He referred to a policy of an online web shop service, saying it gave bad experiences. I tweeted that, with the name of the service. A couple of hours later, the CEO of that service tweets me, asking about what had been said. In this particular case it didn't matter what profession I had, not at all. Same goes for most of my followers at the moment. Some follow 'cause they are friends. Some follow because I've followed them. Most follow because of who I am - someone who likes to fish, someone who's interested in media, someone who tweets silly links every now and then, someone who goes to conferences once in a while and tweets eagerly from them, some follow because we all like writing... Yes, some follow because I've got "format developer" as a job title, but to me that's more of an interest than a profession.

Can I draw a conclusion here? I'll try. See - anyone has the opportunity to be themselves online. They can even be the better parts of themselves, should they wish to. There's no need to define oneself along the lines of ones profession, if one does not want to. So now, finally, people can be interested in YOU. Or not interested, which also might be the case. Just don't take it personally :)

PS. I should also add that the "what we do"-tag, when it comes to social media, is a lot more about how we use different social media, than what we have as a profession. For instance, someone who just uses Facebook gives a different initial impression of him-/herself than someone who is on Twitter exclusively. Or a Blogger/Waver (if Google Wave can be called a social media? I'd argue yes) is a totally different person than a Twitterer/Beboer. I'll delve into that argument later on. DS.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Conference AHOY!

The Eyes on UX conference will kick off tomorrow in Vasa, Finland, with quite a renowned lineup of speaker (including your humble servant, myself that is). Read more about it at the conference pages.

Dr Jeffrey Cole promises to be quite interesting tomorrow morning. Looking forward to that.

Not only will I do a small presentation (and unless you're already using Prezi to make your presentations, you should start NOW), I'll also be mr DJ at the dinner party! Been a while, let's see if I still got it... :)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


With all things going on in economics, with the world ending in 2012 or so... it's good to do something completely different once in a while. Spurred on by how fun it was to do the #BBCAWDIO writing thing on Twitter, I decided to try my hand at NaNoWriMo, the annual writing effort where you win if you create a 50.000 word novel during the month of November. Doesn't matter how well you write, doesn't matter what you write... that you put down that many words, that's the key.

So, I'm now 2000+ words into my novel, and I'm happily following the main character - Adam - on his trip to... well, wherever he's going. I have a slight inkling of where it might be, but really, I do not know yet.

Here are the first two paragraph of the story:

He could never quite shake the feeling that there was something wrong with him. Something that was a bit odd, an out-of-the-way, not-really-as-it-should-be kind of thing.

It didn’t matter if he was riding his bike to work – and it sure was not his bike’s fault, even though it was an age-old bike, a pre-historical bike with wide tires and a weight like a full-grown buffalo, a precious bike inherited from his grandfather who had ridden it during the War – or painting his part of the fence at home, or preparing what would pass for dinner when it was his turn to cook the food… it didn’t matter what he did, he always had the feeling that people passing him or people that he passed looked at him much like you would look at an unfortunate flamingo without any sense for balance, or a recent, fairly harmless car crash. Like he was… not really proper.

So, we'll see what happens! :)