tasty morsels of goodness on open platforms, developer relations and motherhood 2.0

Monday, April 24, 2006

Good Storytelling

I heard back from Dr. Jan Eglen, CEO and President of Digonex Technologies, Inc, the eBay developer behind the Nabit tool for eBay buyers, AND a fellow fan of CarTalk, about my post involving the Chevy blogosphere experiment.

Maybe Alfred is right and good storytelling, as well as good blogging, is about breaking out of your early recollections rut:
She asks:

Why do so many find it so compelling to listen to (on the radio) or to read (on a blog) unique voices and opinions of people you may have never otherwise heard from?

My response:

I think most people like to hear anyone that is arguably brighter on a topic with which we might be unfamiliar and who seem to have unusual insights and an ability to tell a story unlike one we have heard before. As a psychologist in my former life (well I still keep my license and even attended 35 hours of continuing ed in Forensic Psych last week) I find this to be a very interesting event.

One of the things you learn in your psychology training if you study certain theorists (Alfred Adler mostly) is that all of us have stories that we tell that are shaped by our early experiences. In fact if you listen to people enough you will find that most people have three to five themes that permeate most of the stories that they tell. This study is called Early Recollections if you want to Google it. Anyway if you listen to folks you will learn their 3 to 5 themes and then understand that most stories they tell will revolve around these same themes in hundreds if not thousands of variations.

Good storytellers can break out of these themes with things they learn later in life and so have many more themes. They are interesting to us to listen to because we aren't bored with themes we have heard over and over. Now what is fascinating to me is that if you record the Earliest Recollections that a person has - starting at about 5 or 6 (we seldom have memories earlier than that) you will find that the themes people have in their stories in later life are based upon incidents that occurred in the earliest recollections the individual has.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Car Talk: Debate on Chevy's experiment goes offline

"Anyway, it sure got people talking about the Tahoe. Which was the whole idea, after all."
- Ed Peper, General Manager of Chevrolet

I know nothing about cars. But, like many of my auto-ignorant brethren, I am a big fan of the Tappet Brothers' (Tom and Ray Magliozzi) NPR show, Car Talk. The extent of what's under the hood of my 1995 Honda Civic hood is 1) where to pour oil, and 2) where to jump my battery when I leave my headlights on. I consider Click and Clack from "Boston, MAH" to be my trusted experts on all things car-related. I listen to them every week Saturday AM on the way back from morning errands.

So when I tuned in to the most recent episode this past Saturday (april 15th podcast available via audible.com) that the recent Chevy blogosphere experiment had crossed over and made a mention on that other most populist of media forms, call-in talk radio, I got to thinking. Why do so many find it so compelling to listen to (on the radio) or to read (on a blog) unique voices and opinions of people you may have never otherwise heard from?

Whether it be related to car maintenance on a beat-up '85 volvo wagon or the latest Web services mash-up, people naturally gather in online and offline places where people are relating their own individual experiences. Blogs are only the most recent way to tune into (via RSS) these voices.

As acknowledged by Ed Peper in his blog post, I may never buy a Chevy Tahoe. But I did learn something from a Detroit-based auto manufacturing behemoth last week about courage and transparency in corporate communication - and it was compelling.