We need to stop thinking in terms of technology and social media and think in terms of people. All communication is not functional, practical, purposeful. A lot of it is inconsequential but inconsequential communication is important: sometimes the act of communicating is more important than what is communicated. (Yes, I’ve said this before.)
We see tweets and status updates like, “This latte is crap!” which is something you might say to someone as you head down the hall to a meeting, or in the boardroom before the meeting starts. Or, late Friday, “Now the weekend begins! Hurray!” Does anyone need to see that?
Well, yes. They do. They don’t need to see a constant barrage of it, but every so often they need to see it in order to know that there is a real person behind those tweets and updates and that person thinks and feels kind of the way we do. We may not agree that the latte isn’t so great — we might like the latte — but the way it’s communicated might be funny, or passionate, or … well, something.
Think of it this way: You are walking down the street. You see a panhandler, a guy you see almost every day. You cross the street to avoid him because you know what’s coming: “Spare change?”
It’s not that you don’t care about homelessness. It’s not that you don’t care about the guy. It is about the fact that it is relentless. It is unchanging. It’s essentially a sales pitch, a request, and everything that is unwavering in its refrain becomes tedious — especially if its a sales pitch.
What about those people who want to introduce you to the Bible? You might be more open to a least listen to them except you know, whenever you see them, it’s always going to be the same thing. So you avoid them.
I can’t remember what movie it was but in some film, a romantic comedy, one of the characters, when asked about his relationship, says of his wife of many years, “Every morning I wake up and think, ‘I wonder what she’ll say today?’”
That’s what makes us interesting. That is why the trivial is important. Because sometimes the trivial isn’t so trivial, and sometimes it’s trivial but kind of neat, and sometimes it’s trivial but, “So what?” he or she said it and you love the way that person says things (or tweets, or updates).
Sometimes the content of a communication is the act of communicating itself, and nothing more. Even so, that kind of communication is often the most important. With apologies to Peter Gabriel:
Some of it is just transcendental,
Some of it is just really dumb.
But I, I love it when you sing to me.
(This post was prompted after reading Tzaddi’s post, Do you have time for coffee? over at the ThriveWire site. One other thing … I changed my post’s title after posting. Not a “best practices” thing to do, but so it goes.)