So I was on BBC Radio Scotland yesterday morning. If you skip to 2.20.56 you can take a listen here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03903n6
The radio link is no longer live but I have an mp3 of the interview and of the subsequent mugging off which I've attached below:
It was a 45 minute chat truncated to just over 5 so it's a bit choppy but hopefully I don't come across as a total dick. Go and take a listen, I have a few things to say about it. It’s cool, I’ll wait.
You done? It’s OK right? Positive chat, people are good etc. I should have said asymmetrical rather than asynchronous but whatever. Big thanks to Sarah Toom for being interested enough to get in touch and for the great chat.
That bit after the chat though eh? Oof. Mugged off by Kay Adams and the news team. Not the best advice? I hope my children don't hear that? I take umbrage.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the instinct. I don’t have any kids but I’ve got a huge family and I’m currently looking after a budgie so I can fully understand the natural instinct to shield them from danger. I don't want to discourage you from being safety conscious, but I hate to think of the great things you might miss out on. Listen: I have met a lot of strangers from the internet, and nothing but good has come from it.
Your mileage may vary, etc. but this completely rings true for me. It is an objective fact. I don't just mean the meetandtweet thing either. In many ways my history with meeting strangers on the internet is one of the reasons that I was so keen on starting the whole endeavour. My life, job, friends, relationships & location would all be completely different if it wasn't for people I met online.
The first internet strangers I met were from forums, which was where I spent much of my early internet life after some brief trolling of AOL chat rooms in my mid teens. It was around 1999 I joined my first forum. I made friends. After a year or two of daily interaction we decided to meet up. It was like university in microcosm. Everyone was a bit awkward and uncomfortable and we all drank too much and by the end of the night many people were best friends forever and had a bunch of stories to tell.
Since the advent of social media, this type of meet up, while it certainly still exists, doesn’t feel as prevanlent to me. Despite the fact that there are siginificantly more people online now than there was in the late nineties, I feel like fewer people are connecting. Facebook doesn’t really work for this because it’s essentially just an extended address book but twitter totally does.
Now granted, when you meet people on a forum there is generally a reason you’re all there, a common interest (videogames in my case) that you perhaps don't get with twitter. Still, by following people and engaging with them about things you're interested in, it's easy to gradually pick up on the things they're interested in and find common ground.
So go and meet some strangers.
Kay, I know it was just an off the cuff remark and you probably didn’t really think about it beyond stranger=danger but I’m certain your kids have enough wits about them to know when something is a bit iffy. I have probably met at least a thousand people in my life and yes some people have been weird or annoying but not a single one of them has been any danger to me.
Just don't be an idiot: I don't want to get a message from someone telling me they went and met a bunch of strangers and now they're on heroin and called Starchild. Meet somewhere public, meet in groups, have an exit strategy. But please don't assume strangers are a threat. You're a stranger to most people in the world, and you're cool, right? Be safe, but be bold.
You will have a good time or at the very least have a new story to tell.
Only 9 more to go!