Thursday, December 4, 2008

Case and Point [response to Making Connections]

A co-worker just sent me this article about Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, senior Republican Congresswoman from Florida. She received a call from Barack Obama yesterday and hung up on him not once, but twice.

She said she thought he was one of the local radio stations playing an elaborate joke on her.

Interesting how we are quick to disbelieve the telephone, but will believe online profiles with relative ease. I'm struggling to understand "authenticity" through social media settings. Let me wrap my brain around what I want to say... more on this later.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Making Connections

This week has felt a bit off. How about for everyone else? I think the mass quantities of food for Thanksgiving, as well as the relaxed nature of vacation, made a hard clash with the fast paced motion of work. Monday had a tinge of bitterness hanging in the office atmosphere. Everyone was reluctant to get back into their corporate clothing, our corporate lingo had a tougher time rolling off our lips.

Now, it's the middle of the week and I'm reaching to bring some normalcy in.

I started this morning, much like every morning

[sign into outlook]
[sign into digsby]
[sign into twhirl] ...for all of you smartalecs, yes, I know digsby does twitter but I like twhirl better.

I decided to reach out to all my new (and old friends) on twitter sending the message "Hello all my new social media friends. Good to be connected. How's your day so far?" Few responded, but the one's who did carried on short conversations about gas prices of the day, trips to Vegas, the weather and others about Juniper's online community, J-Net. I was glad to have a chance to touch base with people who are so far out of geographical reach.

This simple effort paid off. I had a great twitter-chat with a new friend, afterwards he twittered "I heart Juniper, and I ain't afraid to say it. Much." Thanks dotwaffle, we heart you back. And I greatly appreciate the simple validation that your day was improved by a bit of genuine human contact via social media.

While chatting with a friend last night, he mentioned a social experiment he had read about and eventually tried. He called random numbers and tried to get movie recommendations from them. He explained how difficult it was for people to drop their guard of instantly thinking he was trying to sell something to them. His tactic was to approach them by making them think it was a run-of-the-mill wrong number.

The conversation would go something like this:

Hi is Katie there?
>>Sorry there's no one here by that name.
Oh, I was calling because I wanted to see a movie tonight and thought she could recommend something. Have you seen anything lately that you thought was good?

And the person on the other line would indulge him. 

When I asked if he had seen the new James Bond film, he said "No, I haven't, but it was recommended to me." This recommendation came to him from a random person he called, this person even answered various questions about how they would rate it on a scale of 1-10 and what were their favorite parts. The situation seems comical to me, but really it's a 'primitive' form of social media. What my friend was doing, is going back to some of our roots.

It is rare when I will answer the phone for an unknown number; I will never pick up a blocked number. The phone has become an unreliable piece of equipment for me. I am sceptical of why people are calling and what they want. On the contrary, I will add a person I don't know onFacebook or twitter. Granted, the agenda for my social media accounts is to make connections, meet people, and engage, whereas there is no such agenda for my phone calls. 

Interesting how there has been a switch on where people tolerate "spamming." Phones are now off limits, email has become easy to manage, twitter hardly even peaks on my radar. Social media seems to soften the spamming blow for me. It's a simple "delete" or "block" at my leisure. It isn't as invasive as a phone call where I answer and a guy says "Hey, [begin the tell-tale sign of someone I don't know, butchering my name.]"Ta-wah-nee" how's it going, it's John." [pause where I try to get my bearings] "I'm just calling to see if you have the Super Fantastic Credit Card of your dreams yet?"

No John, I don't. Please don't call me ever.

Going back to my friend's social experiment, I admire his desire of trying to convince people that he doesn't want anything from them but normal human interaction. We are getting further and further away from polite exchange as the days go on. 

So if you happen to randomly dial me and ask me my opinion of movies, I might just tell you. Just please, for my sake, don't mispronounce my name.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December Giveaway

Who wants to win an iPod Touch, Garmin GPS, or FlipVideo Camera? I know I do... watch the video to find out more about our December promotion. :)

Please visit the J-Net community page for more information.