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:
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?
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.