…and starts a conversation with a complete stranger. Who knows where the conversation will head? Who knows who this person is? The only thing that they have in common is being in the same place at the same time. If the conversation gets interesting, it grows. If the conversation doesn’t, or it gets uncomfortable, you just excuse yourself and move on.
I read a couple of posts this morning from people indignant that someone would join them in a Twitter adventure and then send a message that might be considered inappropriate or spam-ish in nature. Hey, move on.
It’s not the end of the world. I’m torn whether to make a reference to Forrest Gump and his box of chocolates or a word that I learned from blogger Paul C. I’ll choose Paul C. The power of Twitter lies in the serendipity that happens when you fall into the company of like minded souls. The power comes from being in the same location, at the same time.
If it’s comfort that you want, perhaps a private email to a friend is in order.
But, if you’re truly looking to open your mind to new things, you’ve got to sidle up to a stranger, listen to the conversation and jump in. You’ve also got to be open to the fact that there may be people doing the same thing. Not all intents are honourable, we know, and you can use the “block” feature if they become too annoying. Just like in a bar, if it’s really annoying, call the manager who will have a bouncer escort them to the street.
But, the power is there if you let it be there.
As I noted recently, I leave Spaz or Twhirl open all night to catch the conversations from the side of the Twitterverse that’s chatting while I’m sleeping. Over a morning coffee, I take a quick scroll through and see what’s up.
This morning, I awoke roughly at 6:00am and just happened to make a comment to someone, for some reason that I don’t recall now. I think it may have been something to the fact that this was the day of the winter/summer solstice depending upon where you are. Within minutes, I was invited to a Flash Meeting with Australian / New Zealand educators. It took a few minutes to get connected and logged in and I ended up at the tail end of a collaboration about Podcasting in the classroom. I learned a few new tips about microphones and headsets and shared a comment or two of my own.
Now, what I know about Australia and New Zealand would barely cover half a written page. I enjoy watching the Australian Grand Prix and The Boy went to Australia last year. If I had walked into a room where these folks were talking, they wouldn’t know me and I wouldn’t know them. But, because we’re in the mood to share, we open our minds to accept comments from each other and in real time.
This doesn’t happen from a cozy, closed environment. As a result, I’ve gained some new friends and some of them have gained me. I can’t imagine any other way to support such immediate, global collaboration.