Lately I’ve been very concerned that I haven’t really been able to communicate very much with friends. I have not sent enough emails, posted enough on my blog, or called. Part of the reason is that I feel like I just can’t find enough energy to spend time on a long-form prose or conversation, which I deem necessary in order to do any of those things. That’s not a good thing to continue this way, so I have been trying to decide how to fix it.
One of the options is to abandon those modes of conversation altogether and adopt shorter-form ones, such as Twitter and Facebook. Start sharing things that I’m thinking about without having to spend time trying to draw conclusions or do a deeper research on it to see if it is something that I really have an opinion on.
At first I thought that short discussions were just too shallow. After some time I realized that I was missing an important part of it: the fact that it was a less filtered view of what is going on. I don’t usually need to know what the person thinks about a subject, just that they are interested on a subject.
There is certainly a limit, though. You don’t want really to know all articles I read, or songs I listen to, or things I buy. There is a level of noise that starts to muddle the message. We all read things that are not really that good, or listen to songs just because they were recommended to you, or they were randomly selected, or you just wanted to just not think too much about selecting your song and just listening to it. That information that you are then listening to the song has very little signal, tells very little about yourself. But because you are not really saying anything about it, just that you are listening to it, or reading it, it becomes impossible for somebody casually looking through your “life stream” to recognize the difference and that’s when value is lost.
Another very important thing that you get on Facebook and Twitter that you don’t usually get on a blog is discussions. Yes, people can leave comments on blogs, but that doesn’t happen that often. Well, sure you can claim that this doesn’t happen on this blog because almost nobody reads it… And that almost nobody reads it because I don’t post anything here… And we are back to where we started.
The other side of the coin to discussions is that it is only useful if the people involved on the discussion are keeping up with it. It quickly loses the interest if it becomes one-sided because the other side just was never able to get back to it. That’s what sometimes keeps me away from Facebook and Twitter (especially the latter): if I don’t have time to check it at least once a day (sometimes more often), discussions with me end up not being very “enriching”.
Back to the initial problem as mentioned above: what is the solution to the communication conundrum? I wished I knew. Maybe one of these days I’ll find one. Until then, I’ll just have those weekends where I post multiple times and those other 51-ish weekends of the year when I don’t post anything.