BEDA #2: The 5 Avenues of Online Conversations

As the title of my upcom­ing book is The Great­est Blog­ger in the World I have started to be asked ques­tions like, ‘Do you think you’re the great­est blog­ger in the world?’ and ‘What’s it like hav­ing a blog and talk­ing online?’ Firstly, I am not, will never be, don’t want to be, can’t think of any­thing worse than being known as the great­est blog­ger in the world. So, no. And sec­ondly, at the risk of talk­ing about talk­ing and never say­ing any­thing new or real I’d like to talk about talk­ing. They say that there are five lev­els of conversation:

1. The Weather.

It’s start­ing to look like rain”.

2. A topic.

I catch rain in my water tank.”

Water tanks are cool.”

Yeah, way cool.”

3. Ener­getic conversations.

I can’t believe our fathers both sold water tanks back in the 60s!”

Life was pretty strange with a water tank sales­man for a dad!”

Tell about it.”


4. Mean­ing­ful

So I just don’t know any­more if my father loved me then or loves me now.”

All because of the tanks?”

5. Mean­ing of life-ful

Yeah, all because of the tanks. Is this how life is sup­posed to be? I feel like I’m doing it all wrong. Or maybe Dad did it all wrong.”

I think it all depends on how you look at it. Is the water tank of your life half-full or half-empty?”

As more and more online social net­work­ing sites are used (and more and more arti­cles called ‘So What Is This Twit­ter Thing Any­way?’ get pub­lished in week­end news­pa­pers) eti­quettes and ‘appro­pri­ate behav­iours’ for these sites become more evi­dent. For exam­ple, it’s not really cool to post some­thing like ‘Andrew just got dumped and is very sad. I hate you Rebecca!’ on Face­book or Twit­ter. These sites are for flip­pancy, pho­tos and gen­eral news and info. How­ever this is not to say that all types of con­ver­sa­tions can­not hap­pen online (I lose 2 writ­ing points here for my dou­ble neg­a­tive). Which brings me to my Five Avenues of Online Conversations:

1. The weather

The weather and related small talk can hap­pen pretty much any­where online. Although bor­ing con­ver­sa­tions may raise ires if you’re IM–ing.

2. A topic

Per­fect for book­mark­ing — Digg, deli­cious, etc as well as the Twitterbook.

3. Ener­getic conversations.

You could do these on Face­book or Twit­ter but peo­ple are going to get annoyed at see­ing a con­ver­sa­tion going back and forth between you and your friend. You’ll call it ener­getic, they’ll call it inane. Email or Direct Mes­sage it the way to do Level 3. Also, blogging.

4. Mean­ing­ful

Email or Direct Mes­sage, but really IM is the best course for this. And any insight­ful blogging.

5. Mean­ing of life-ful

IM. It’s the only way to ‘talk deep’ online.

My lists and rant­i­ngs are, in them­selves, flip­pant and not to be taken too seri­ously. The only real impor­tant thing to say is that any type of con­ver­sa­tion can take place online. Talk­ing online is not a sixth, dif­fer­ent level of con­vers­ing. Unless you think that shar­ing links to silly things is a supe­rior level of com­mu­ni­ca­tion that can ONLY take place online and is there­fore a sixth (and quite beau­ti­ful) level of com­mu­ni­ca­tion in itself.

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