This morning I went to the Social Media Breakfast here in Washington DC hosted by the VOIP Pioneer Jeff Pulver. I had a great time. Of all the breakfasts he’s hosted in the world, this is his second time hosting in Washington, DC.
At these events, he passes out the “Personal Social Networking Toolkit.” It’s a pen, two name tags, and a bunch of little stickers. One of the name tags is for your name and your personal tag line. With the personal tag line, you try to say something about yourself that will help you more easily connect with others. The other name tag and little stickers are for you to tag other people with your perceptions about them. You contribute to others’ personal tag clouds.
I’ll admit that when I went to Jeff’s first breakfast in the DC area. I didn’t get the personal tag line and the tagging. I just thought it was kind of weird and didn’t do it. This time he talked about it more and I got it.
Much like the notion of object centered sociality, Jeff was trying to show that, when two people can more easily identify a shared area of interest, circumstance, or experience (aka social object), it’ll be easier for them to connect and make friends. The personal tagline and tags are there to help facilitate the back and forth.
This got me thinking more… a while ago I had heard a story that a guy had worn a t-shirt that said, “Hi, my name is Bob.” His name was Bob. Throughout the day, people were far more friendly with them then they’d normally be because they knew what his name was. It was easier to connect.
It’s one of the reason why I love wearing Threadless t-shirts. The t-shirts make people laugh, they make people think, they make people stop and look. The t-shirts start a conversation. They allow me to more easily connect with others. The t-shirts are social objects.
It’s the reason why I write this blog. The more I’m transparent with you here about what’s going on with me and what I’m thinking about the more opportunities you’ll have to connect with me. There will be more opportunities for us to have a conversation. These blog posts are social objects.
All of this activity fascinates me. The more that we use all these different tools whether its offline with t-shirt or online with blogging, Twitter, and Facebook, we’re seeing how sharing is helping more people connect in ways that would have never happened before. More and better relationships are being built.