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Grandmas and Twitter

April 22, 2009 Leave a comment

If I’ve learned one thing about Twitter, it is once the press thinks they’ve discovered the next best thing, the PR is more or less taken care of for free.

Just this past week I had to explain to a group of 70-year-old women what Twitter was and why everyone at the local coffee shop was tuned in. My answer was quick: Twitter is like walking into a room of a thousand strangers all talking to each other and finding common ground with a select few. Sure you could walk around the room just blurting things out until someone stopped you, but that’s now how conversation works. Instead it is a two-way dialogue that requires each participant to bring value to.

The old ladies said they kind of got it, but weren’t sure why people needed to know all that.

So I tried another one. I asked them when they were young how they kept tabs on their friends. “We would see them at school and then after school sometimes,” they responded. I then asked them how they kept in touch with their grandchildren if they had any. “Email, our kids blog, and of course traveling to see them,” they quickly answered.

“So you enjoy looking online to stay in touch because you don’t want to miss something?” I asked back.

“Of course! We don’t want to miss their first step or word.”

“There you go that is what Twitter is like, yet it’s less personal. People are turning to the room to find people to enrich their lives and keep in touch, and most are scared they will miss something life-shattering so they always tune in.”

“So my grandson could twitter?” one asked.

“Sure.”

“Now that’s scary,” she quietly pondered.

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Categories: Conversations

Remember Pluto? That’s right it *was* the ninth planet…

April 15, 2009 2 comments

Like some who are addicted to TED, I’ve found a deep love for the Commonwealth Club of California. Most of their talks are available as podcasts and feature personalities ranging from Ted Turner to Gwen Ifill, but the most surprising as of late was Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City and author of The Pluto Files. During his talk he answers questions about Pluto’s demise, why it didn’t exactly match up to be a planet and what a young boy sent him when he learned his favorite planet was no more. The hour-long talk is entertaining, refreshing and well worth a quick listen to.

To download the podcast either check out the Commonwealth’s Apple Store page or go here.

Categories: Conversations, Quotes

If you could drop everything what would you do? — My challenge to you

July 30, 2008 3 comments

Answer this: If you could drop everything, without consequence, and follow one dream, what would it be?

Now think about what is stopping you? The barriers that immediately shut down your idealism. Are they able to be breached? Are they materialistic? Are they family based? Are they rooted in fear?

My dream?

The Six Degrees of Separation Project

The Mission: America needs to remember its beauty – The idealism that has captivated millions to risk death just for a chance to succeed. To jump borders. Leave family. Drive a taxi by day, go to school at night. America needs to hear the stories of idealism beyond Disneyesque packaged prime time. The need to see the faces of struggling entrepreneurs. Stay-at-home mothers. Hourly wageworkers. Wall Street wonders. The project will link together, using the philosophy of six degrees of separation, the everyday fabric of our lives.

Execution: I would start out with one person, and listen to their story. That one person would then be responsible for introducing me to the next individual. I would then listen, learn, and document their story. The individual would then be responsible for introducing the next person. The catch, however, is the person cannot introduce me to a person the previous person knows. I also will need to spend at least one night with the selected individual, so I can accurately portray a sliver of their life.

Deliverables: By meshing my love for storytelling with technology, I will produce a variety of multimedia components: video, written word, photography, podcasting, GPS oriented content to name just a few. The project would be available via a website, and social networking tools.

The Crux: Before embarking I would compile a bucket list of goals: be a guest on the Tonight Show, run a marathon in a major city, help a kid learn how to throw a baseball, learn how to sail, and have dinner with the President. That I wish to complete during the trip.

Barriers: Capital. That’s it.

My Challenge to You: If you feel as though reaching your goal is out of reach, help me reach mine. I will make a promise to fulfill on this. All I need is a little help. This does not necessarily mean just cash, though that will put some gas in my tank. A simple introduction may be more than enough.

What would this take? Honestly, I’m not sure. Startup costs would be roughly 5K to get the appropriate equipment and website built. Then it’s a matter of gas, food, and enough cash so when I stay with a stranger I can cook them dinner, or take their kids out for ice cream. Ideally I would start in Colorado, and work east.

It is also important to note that I am not just asking for a handout to travel without risk to myself. I am willing to put my own capital behind this journey, as well as my personal name and time. Several people noted that “this seems a little strange,” and “I’m not sure what my first impressions are,” which is more than reasonable. I will work on answering these questions in a more detailed post shortly, but for now I wanted to just put the idea out there.

Think you can help? Let me know. If I can raise 20k I will hit the road and follow a life-long dream, which will hopefully change one persons life for the better.

Note: 20K is also equal to 200 folks taking a $100 chance. Broken up, anything is possible.

Please feel free to circulate this post to whomever you like.

If you don’t know me and would like to talk, please feel free to give me a ring at 303.406.1876 or email me directly at timshisler (at) gmail (.com) – I will be more than willing to answer any of your questions.

Squeaky Shoes Guy

July 29, 2008 Leave a comment

“Hey, you squeaky shoes guy?” He looked homeless, but then again his hair had the flowing quality of a man who just showered.

“Um, maybe?” If it was a line for lose change the guy was getting mine for originality.

“Yea it’s you,” he said. “I remember the shirt.”

I sat down on the bleachers across from him and bit into my apple. The air was crisp, the type of crispness that comes with a late afternoon storm. I could smell rain, but felt none. The sky was growing darker and the wind was picking up.

“I just showered you know.” He was proud. Glowing as if holding his first-born son. “The guys over there (he pointed at the YMCA), let me in. They see me out here drinking all the time, but I keep my distance. They are nice folks. You know what?”

“What?” I replied. My apple quickly disappearing as I kept an eye on the dodgeball game unfolding before me.

“I don’t know why people pay for this shit?”

“This shit?”

“Yea, kicking a ball. I ain’t never seen this before. We didn’t even play it in jail.”

“Yea?” The teams had switched sides and a twentysomething who obviously was a bit tipsy, was having trouble keeping her eye on the ball.

“You know what else?”

“What?”

“I got a shower in San Diego once. I was in rehab and snuck in a shower. They don’t like us sneaking in showers, but I stripped down butt naked and used the hand soap. They caught me but it was too late.”

The first crack of thunder could be heard off in the distance, rumbling against the flatirons. My apple was gone. The umpire behind the backstop had just smiled at me. The wind was still picking up.

“Dude.”

“Yea.”

“It’s hard to get a shower, dude. People don’t know. I’m a drunk, yea, but I also need a shower. I hate the shelters too. All those gross folks. Jail isn’t gross.” He paused as a tall lanky guy rounded third. “Jail is clean. Just jail you know, sucks.”

The raindrops started falling. The infield began to darken as the topsoil desperately soaked up the moisture.

“Game!” The ump yelled. I looked over at my new friend.

“Finished my apple, man.” I stumbled a second not sure how to finish our conversation. “Uh, have a good one.”

“You too squeaky shoes,” he shot back. I got up and started walking away. “Remember man,” he shouted. “Showers are hard to come by.”

And with that I turned my back. I could hear beer bottles being rounded up as the two teams dashed for cover in the unzipping downpour. A free shower of sorts.

Categories: Advice, Conversations, Personal