A man sat on a bar stool in the middle of a pub and announced loudly “Gather round, gather round, come and listen to the fascinating insights I have on all the issues I find interesting”. Needless to say, the only attention he received was abuse from the resident drunk who alone thought his own views would be of even greater interest to anyone who would give him the time of day.
In the corner of the pub was a group of friends discussing an issue of the day. The discussion was good humoured, sometimes passionate, clearly enjoyable. After a while, the man on the bar stool moved across and sat on the edge of the group of friends. After a while he chipped in with a view that was well received. He soon was part of the conversation. It felt much better than being berated by the resident drunk.
I sometimes feel that blogging is a bit like the man on the bar stool. Take this blog, I post things that are of interest to me and I believe relevant to BHT. I may find the themes fascinating, but does anyone else? I hope so, but is there a different discussion going on elsewhere? I know from the number of people who view this blog that I must be doing something right, but from the number of people who leave comments (very few) I must be doing something not right.
A year ago I found the idea of Twitter shallow, to be avoided if at all possible. But in the last few weeks I ‘got’ Twitter. It is the conversation that is going on in the corner of the pub and all over the place. And the discussion involves people who we may rarely see or hear from.
The key to Twitter are hashtags that allow you to follow a stream of tweets building up a debate. For example, #citycampbtn allowed me to follow a wider debate about issues and initiatives at the recent City Camp Brighton event. While in one session, I was able to see what was emerging in other groups. Since then, #myurbanangel has allowed people to follow how the ‘winning’ idea from City Camp Brighton is being taken forward.
Twitter can be dismissed as no more than celebrities, who we will never meet, sharing with their adoring public that they are walking down the road scratching their bum! How wrong is that view. Most celebrities can be avoided (thank goodness) simply by not following them. There is a huge amount of informed discussion out there, not just ‘celebrity’ gossip. Join the debate.