Category Archives: Media and Messages

Small print can scupper (what should be) small conversations

I use the inter-city rail service often, and generally it’s okay; but there is one snag in the way it operates which many travellers will confirm causes ill-will and chaos. This is that the ticket / receipt of payment to travel, and the required seat reservation which goes with it, are usually printed on separate ‘business card’ sized tickets.

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Some topics feel too big to converse about

I recall a comment somewhere once, pre-Geldorf, to the effect that pop stars sing incessantly about lurve, but never about the human condition. Well, now we have been urged to Feed the World, with all the complexities of context and motivation in that musical message. But do we even some while later have real dialogue about what human compassion of a global kind might mean?

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The language of inclusion

A Guardian article today (9 October 2010) focuses on the meaning of ‘Big Society’. We are told that [the?] Big Society is about ‘passing power to the lowest possible level’, so that organisations are more responsive to the needs of those using them. One aspect of this is, the writer continues, to ‘encourage more people to play a role in society.’

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Is upsetting people OK, to get their attention?

The 10:10 campaign, launched last September to highlight carbon emissions and damage to the environment, has hit a problem. A four minute film commissioned for the 10:10 date (10 October) to challenge apathy about climate change has itself become the issue, with claims that it’s tasteless, too violent and will create disaffection for the cause it promotes.

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Can conversations actually be too small?

notebook Have social media resulted in ‘conversations’ which are so small, they’re not actually conversations at all?

Rick of Flip Chart Fairy Tales thinks this can happen, especially if Twitter is the chosen mode of communication. He quotes from Mitch Joel’s blog on The End Of Conversation In Social Media in support of his case:

■Twitter doesn’t really bring out a conversation. It’s a great place to broadcast and get some quick tidbits, but let’s face it, unless you’re creating spiritual and motivation tweets, it’s hard to have substance in 140 characters (or less – if you’re looking for a retweet).
■Even in cool arenas like the #blogchat that takes place on Twitter every Sunday night, it feels more like everyone screaming a thought at once than a conversation that can be followed and engaged with

There’s an irony here, perhaps; the more widely and instantly ‘conversations’ are shared, the less they may have common meaning. Instant chatter does not necessarily equate to participants deriving significant shared insight.

But is it the medium (Twitter etc), or social mores (modern expectations), which are producing these meaning-lite messages? Does the technology lead or reflect what’s happening here?
Is this a contemporary stereotypical case of comfort-contact without commitment?

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