D'Arcy Norman has set up a project which asks the simple question 'How do you connect to people online'. He says we are free to interpret that how we want, and responses can be in any format. He is publishing the open responses as it goes along. Many people have chosen to respond in video format, and here is my offering:
There different ways of interpreting the question, so I gave four answers. There is the purely technical, practical answer – so I connect mainly through twitter and this blog, plus a bunch of other tools. But there is also a set of behaviours associated with connecting, so you do it by linking (and being linked to – I find a lot of people because they link to my blog, and my blog stats tell me this, hey presto, we're connected), commenting (on blogs, or in twitter), responding to requests, cries for help, etc, but really it's about sharing. There is the social element to connecting, so I engage in debates (which can be related to work but might are as often about tv, football, politics), making jokes, giving people answers or experience, and what we might call just chatting. And the fourth way of responding to the question is to think in terms of fundamental principles one operates on which I list as embrace serendipity and be open.
I've probably said lots on the latter, but the serendipity comment can probably bear a little more examination. In an earlier post about Science 2.0 I wondered if scientists struggled with the web 2.0 approach because so much of it was about unpredictability and this went against their scientific training. Serendipity has come to the fore in the socially connected world I believe. It's no longer an eccentric relation at the family gathering, who may give you a great song on the piano but equally may wet their pants and fall asleep at the dinner table. Two things have changed the status of serendipity: the number of connections and the ease of connecting. Now you can rely on serendipity – something will turn up which is relevant, you just don't know what it is.
Here is Jim Groom also responding to D'Arcy's project, who makes the point that these technologies allow us to 'imbue our work with a sense of personality':
So, how do you connect?