This past weekend my brother and I spoke on the phone as we do most weekends. We talked about watching the US Open and shared thoughts about who we’d be rooting for when Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate played another 18 holes of golf in Monday’s playoff.
photo credit: creativecommoners
We shared a few details about what we did during the day as well as other mostly mundane information. Nothing about our conversation was particularly enlightening and neither of us is a changed person as a result of our talk, but in talking about ordinary things we strengthened the bond between us.
A number of years ago he was living in Manhattan and I was living in Danbury, CT. Both or us were single, worked all day, and came home to watch a little tv and unwind after the day. We’d call each other and watch a Knicks game together. He watching on his tv and me watching on mine. We said very little, didn’t need to other than the occasional comment on a play. Yet the phone line was open and connected us for a few hours each night a game was on.
Earlier today I was IMing a friend. She used to live here in Boulder and now lives in Florida. We discussed exciting topics like the weather and what we were going to eat for lunch. We said nothing profound and for much of the time neither one of us typed a word. She worked on her laptop and I worked on mine. Still the channel for communication remained open and helped to keep us close.
I Do Want To Know What You’re Doing Right Now
The most popular criticism you hear about Twitter is “I don’t care what you’re doing right now.” I said it often enough myself before giving Twitter a try. From the outside looking in, it does seem like a stupid idea.
- Do you need to know what I had for breakfast? – Raisin Bran
- Do you care what time I’m going to sleep? – around 2:00 AM
- Is it important to know what magazine I’m currently reading? – Dynamic Graphics
Does knowing these mundane details about each other help us in any way? Is there any point to sharing the information?
As it turns out these kind of tweets are one of Twitter’s great strengths as a networking service. Do we need to know? Of course not, but knowing the mundane facts about each other is what brings us closer together.
I can’t speak for you, but most of my day is pretty dull. I wake up, go to the bathroom, make myself a pot of coffee (presumably so I can go to the bathroom again), check my email and begin my day. Much of the details about my week aren’t too exciting. I’m not complaining. I’m very happy with how I’ve set up my week to week, but truth is most of us live rather ordinary lives.
Earlier I left a quick message on Plurk about how I was having difficulty writing today. I started this post and several others a few hours ago and while the ideas were all in the place the words weren’t flowing.
Did anyone need to know that? Probably not, but since most everyone who’s ever written anything has gone through the same it’s a point of connection between us. Anyone who sees my plurk and empathizes will feel a bit closer to me and I’ll feel a bit closer to anyone who replies.
We’ll continue to become closer as we reply to each other’s tweets or share links on Sphinn and StumbleUpon. Repeated replies to ordinary thoughts will create stronger bonds between us than anything else.
We are the minutia of our days and sharing that minutia is what connects us as human beings.
It turns strangers into acquaintances and acquaintances into friends. is there a better purpose to networking? The little things make a difference and the ordinary strengthens friendships.
Maybe it sounds stupid and pointless to share mundane details about what we’re doing at various moments throughout the day, but the truth is I do care what you’re doing right now and I hope you care about what I’m doing too. We don’t necessarily need to know, but knowing will bring us closer together.