April 17, 2008
I Like It When Smart People Agree with Me...

I don't know about you, but it always makes me good to see someone else I think is really smart say something I agree with. It's a little inward validation, a positive external review validating what you think. At worst, it can lead to an echo chamber, or else a validation for shutting out ideas. See, for instance, C3 Consulting Researcher Grant McCracken's post about a conversation we had back in the fall and the danger of scorn.

But we also surround ourselves with like-minded people for a reason. I pointed out in my previous post how the Consortium contains an interesting variety of perspectives, opinions, and interests, but I'm also sure there are some common sentiments, worldviews, and idiosyncrasies that bond many of us together.

I saw one of those eloquently explained in a post from C3 alum Ilya Vedrashko's Advertising Lab. Ilya writes about his distant relationship with Twitter. I agree. Being at MIT and in a group researching where the media industries are headed, people sometimes expect you to use every new program or way of communicating that comes along. It's not that I don't find value in Twitter theoretically, it's that I don't find value for me.

I e-mail a lot. I feel good when I have no unread or unanswered e-mails in my inbox. I avoid instant messaging because I know I'll inevitably end up spending more time talking about whatever it is I should be doing with people I know than doing it. And when someone text messages me, I call them back. Perhaps I come from a more high-contact culture in Kentucky, but I get text messages from friends all the time...Maybe it is just us, Ilya...But thanks for outting yourself. I feel better seeing it coming from someone who I always look to as being on the cutting edge.

I also wanted to say I'm fascinated by the series of Costco posts over on C3 Consulting Researcher Rob Kozinets' site, in which he provides a self-ethnography of dealing with a defective product and his subsequent conversations and interactions with customer services. See his epilogue here and a meta-piece on the situation wrote about a confusing customer service experience I had, dealing with a lack of transparency--in this case the airline industry...It also reminded me of this post from Ed Moed back in March.

Finally, C3 Consulting Researcher Jason Mittell writes about an interview for NPR, trying to provide further context for the soundbites that were excerpted from his discussion for the final radio piece. He writes, "I'm usually struck by how the soundbites producers pull out of my mouth rarely convey the context of what I was trying to say. But since I have my own platform here, I might as well clarify for myself," and goes on to explain some of the context behind his post.

Jason concludes:

I guess the lesson is to always embed caveats and clarifications mid-sentence, creating challenges for producers looking for snappy quips - and that the next time Robert Thompson says something that sounds too simplistic, there's a decent chance that complexity was pared down in post-production.

See my recent post about a Chronicle of Higher Education piece for some similar thoughts.