On Escalating Communication

For me, since my organization’s staff is geographically dispersed, I typically go from top to bottom:
Forums / collaborative discussion board of your choice
E-mail / IM
IM (preferably with voice and video)

As Jeff wrote, I find that the most important thing to keep in mind is the limitation of each medium. In one case, after I discovered someone couldn’t use voice over IM, we agreed to only talk about certain topics at a time of day when we were both very awake to minimize misunderstandings.

At the risk of being filtered as spam, here’s a fun, somewhat (but barely) relevant comic - http://www.xkcd.com/386/

public is public

My point is, Privacy is not a boolean. I think danah covers it well here:


Etiquette isn’t about the right or wrong of an action, but rather about courtesy as a means of maintaining social harmony and trust.

If you overheard a loud fight between me and my wife in a public place, I wouldn’t expect you to post about it on your blog and cavalierly respond “Public is public”, though it’s well within your right.

In any case, I think this discussion is valuable in that it reminded me just how comfortable we can become with such technologes that we forget about their privacy implications from day to day. It’s a phenomena well known among documentarians and reality TV casts as the subjects of such films forget about the cameras.

I’ve turned off the public setting for my tweets. As you point out, it’s really no big deal in this particular case. No ill feelings here. Nothing but love for you Jeff! :wink:

I have a slightly different perspective, in that my wife and I have been known to de-escalate from face-to-face down to IM for discussing some emotionally charged issues. That way nobody gets distracted or reads too much into an expression or a tone of voice. We can focus on the words and what the other person is actually saying, not what we percieve them to be saying.

I’ve been in Data Processing for over 30 years. The best way to communicate with your peers (or user community) is face-to-face. Don’t over rely on email and/or vmail, get your butt up and go down to the persons office (nee cube) and talk. email and vmail tend to make your conversation impersonal, have a personal conversation. You both may learn something. Every day you learn something is a good day. IM is OK chatting with your buddies but when you are in a business environment either talk on the phone or face to face.

“But don’t underestimate the power of taking a previously siloed, private one-to-one communication medium and making it public.”

Who’d a thunk it.

If no one remembers Usenet news, how come people remember e-mail?

Sorry Gunther, I figured that “circle of followers” would be self-evident in context. “Followers” are part of the twitter vernacular and model. Don’t go getting all conspiratorial on me. Nothing meant by it but than to use language from the domain in question.

Yep, I’m a pompous ass who at least has the sense not to sink below dialog and debate into name calling. I welcome you to call me names to my face in person, however.

There are no searchable logs of face to face!

Josh your comment has inspired me. I’ll hold it close to my heart until my final resting. In fact, I’m going to obtain a small stone from the great pyramid at giza and have that comment inscribed on it and filled in with solid gold. You truly have “added value to the cloud”.

Ah topic: If you don’t want people to read your tweet, protect them. Twitter seems to be pretty reliable about not showing people tweets that are protected. Otherwise, treat Twitter just like a blog, because that’s what Google does. and post accordingly.

@Collin Cusce

The last time I checked, this was Jeff’s blog. He can write about whatever he feels like writing about. If you don’t like it then don’t come back.

@Scott Bellware “Never ceases to amaze me how willing this community is to degrade exploratory dialog into name calling and to not have the courage to identify themselves.”

Well, maybe if you weren’t such a difficult, confrontational, contentious fellow with a bone to pick, people would identify themselves more often.

Jeff exercised some questionable judgement on reposting your conversation, thats true. Your first response addressed your concerns with his usage and that is fine. You then proceeded to poo-poo on his blog with:

“To my experience, you only seem to be interested in comfy cozy human factors, which isn’t where the paradigm-changing work is done.”

Implying that Jeff’s “comfy cozy human factors” take second place to “paradigm-changing work” (which is what I presume is what you’re doing) is irrelevant to this discussion. That, was a thinly vieled insult and no more.

You, sir, are not a very nice person.

I love lamp!

Haacked: “Sure, Twitter is technically public, but there are varying degrees of public as we learned from the first Facebook fiasco. I only have 300 or so followers in Twitter, which is where the conversation would’ve most likely stayed, but now it’s on a blog with thousands and thousands of readers.”

Bellware: “There is indeed a level of privacy, if not intimacy, that informs what a twitter poster might write. I know that my circle of followers is listening. There’s an intimacy in that.”

You two have essentially agreed with Jeff’s point, whether you intended to or not. If one of the criteria of your conversation above was that it should be “intimate” or “a lesser degree of public”, perhaps this should have been on a semi-private IRC channel or mailing list instead. Complaining that your twitter thread has been published publicly on a well-read blog indicates that you should have escalated to a more appropriate method of communication.

Fake51: Not to quibble, but technically since Jeff makes ad revenues on his blog now, he did profit in some small quasi-measurable way.

@Scott Bellware and Haacked:
If you discuss something in public - ANY kind of public - you instantly lose the right to call what you have discussed private. You also lose the right to whine or whinge about it.

Jeff took an example of a public discussion on an IM. His point of doing this was not to display nude pictures of either of you but to point to how the communication works in terms of IM. That both of you feel violated ONLY testifies to the size of your egos, NOT to anything about this blog.
You might think that privacy comes in shades, but that’s a convenient illusion. Broken down, it IS boolean - and that’s all there is to it. Cry as much as you want, things won’t change.

In other words: if you’re nude and go to a nude public beach, expect to be nude in public visibility. And if you have a problem being nude in public, DON’T DO IT.


I got dumped by email…

go figure.

“if you’re nude and go to a nude public beach, expect to be nude in public visibility.”

Does that mean then I can take pictures of you nude, and sell them?

Public instant messaging where anyone can jump in? How is this not a chat room? I’m not understanding the difference between this and a chat room.

IRC has been around for years.

I quite agree with Shalmanese, just use them all in harmony. However, IM is for casual stuff. Debates are done by email, relationship conversations in person or phone…it all depends on the message and what you want to get out of it.
I find it very hard to have some technical discussions face to face, atleast without a way to quickly sketch design processes. There is no ‘single’ answer for what communication medium fits what sort of discussion.

“I’m not understanding the difference between this and a chat room.”

Most new things are just old things done slightly differently.

I think the truly new thing is the general availability of applications that use the technology, rather than the essential ideas. This is what gets a lot of people; it’s easy to say “but that’s really nothing new”. This is accurate, as far as it goes. What’s new is either the timing or the marketing is successful enough to cause it to reach a broader and broader audience.

IRC is really a tech-aware chat tool, developed by nerds for nerds…In the days when to be a nerd you had to understand memory management in C. Twitter works because it’s more accessible to people.

Similar examples abound. Myspace is, at its essence, a web page authoring tool. It’s “geocities” all grown up. But it’s more accessible than having to learn how to write HTML, CSS, embed various objects, hunt down little applications, modify install scripts to get them to work, learn how to configure Apache…; AJAX is, in essence, a smart terminal talking to a timeshare system.

These things aren’t really producing exciting new solutions to problems, they’re marketing old solutions in exciting and accessible new ways. Ebay isn’t fundamentally a new idea, it’s just a well-done translation of your local flea market to a global scale.