The Science of Journalism

If I Had My Way
One Man's Opinion -- for what it's worth.

To: Doc Searls -

Cc: Dave Winer -

From: Doug Skoglund -

Date: 03 Apr 2015 08:00 am CDT

Subject: 2015011 - Conversations??

Doc, you have the right to block or ignore this message -- but you do not have the right to prevent me from writing or sending to whomever I choose. In other words, you have exclusive right to control your behavior and I have every right to control mine -- and that is fair.

Now it just so happens that I agree with what I interpret as your objective -- to get more conversations going on the web.

There are a few problems to be resolved to accomplish that objective. Let's start with face-to-face conversations and the process of communication. There is a large measure of non-verbal communication taking place. This necessitates an interleaved mode of conduct. 

One person makes a simple statement and waits for the verbal and the non-verbal response. He/She then formulates the next statement/question and the process continues dependent upon the needs of each of the participants.

Now conversations can be conducted over the telephone because there is still some measure of non-verbal; however, most wire-to-wire conversations occur between people that know each other.

Obviously, the problem with conversations on the web is the inability to transmit the non-verbal, which also means that the interleaved (picky-picky) style is not productive.

The only method that I know is the report method where you get the non-verbal information by analyzing the contents of the report - what a person writes and how they write it. 

It's like a boss I had at Univac. He was the newly transferred from another division Director of Manufacturing looking for a staff assistant. During the interview he directed, "Don't ever tell me what you think I want to hear." I understood, so let me add the non-verbal part as a quotation, "I will judge the value of your opinion based upon what I learn about you as a person."

That was the best recommendation I ever had cause it has stuck with me for over 45 years.

The only way I know to accomplish conversation on the web is to encourage lots of reports with variety -- short reports, long reports, funny reports, serious reports. You can get to know another person by measuring their behavior under s variety of circumstances; however, you have to assume that the other person is being honest. Lying, or the suspicion of lying is fatal to the conduct of the conversation. And you can't burden a person sitting in front of a computer several thousand miles away to be sensitive, or even care, about your psychological needs. Sorry, Doc, But that's the way it is. I want to see  conversation on the web, and I have some ideas on how it can be accomplished.

To be continued (on my next post)

Doug Skoglund

I don't provide for comments since that is a system designed to control the communication process -- I do provide an e-mail address!! (Please put a [MYWAY] in your title to get my attention).

BTW, I am working on a replacement system -- and I sure could use some help.

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