The feed and the live chat

Purple Platybus at Wal-Mart

Purple Platybus at Wal-Mart

I need to remember to make the decision — the next one, the fateful one, the one that means retaining control of myself when it is the right thing to do or relinquishing control when it is the right thing to do or both.

After yesterday, I had two reminders of that need. I was heading east on Highway 24, uphill toward the Caldecott Tunnel, when I saw this big purple schoolbus with a platypus painted on the back. Its school-bus door on the passenger side was flapping open. In the backup before the tunnel, I managed to pull up to it in slow traffic, roll down my window and holler “Can I ride?”

The driver double-took at me. Then his friend leaned out the door and hollered if I knew where a Walmart was. I said “Follow me.”

I led the bus through the tunnel, then east along 24, north onto 680 and west along Highway 4 to Martinez, off at Muir and then along a frontage road to Arnold Road where it was. The bus followed me into the lot and the two men aboard bounded out of the bus and over to my car to give me bear hugs. They had Australian accents. They had driven overnight up from Los Angeles, and they said that their GPS system had started acting up when they left I-5 and headed over along I-580 and into Oakland and onto 24 where I saw them.

Steve Jobs resignation on Twitter

Steve Jobs resignation on Twitter

Then I go to the office and, later on, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announces his resignation. We set up a live chat using the tool we’ve used so often, Cover It Live. But then I did something I shouldn’t have done. I added Twitter hashtags #SteveJobs and to the feed so they would automatically show up. Naturally, the screen is just spewing a firehose of tweets and retweets and lame jokes and scammers posting links hoping for random clicks.

Then a would-be commenter said:

Comment From Guest

this “live chat” is simply spam from twitter. there is no interaction or conversations. boo times. is this what is to come of the consolidation?

I took the hashtags out of the chat setup. Then I started trying to talk to the dozen or so viewers who remained. They were staring at the screen, I guess, just waiting for someone to say something. For the firehose to stop spewing. For anything real to happen. So I started throwing out a few links and asking a few questions, and eventually one person asked a question and another one joined in, and something like a dialogue, something better than a feed came into view.

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