Tangents

The “post-conference blues”, you’ve heard me talk about it. You’ve seen many tweet about it. It’s the feeling one gets when one has gone to a conference, had a blast and is returning back to matters at hand.

That feeling cannot be pinned down to a single factor. It’s not just about the great words spoken on stage. It’s not just about having between a day or a weeks worth of conversations with astonishing, like-minded people. It’s not just about this quasi micro-utopia we find ourselves in – in this physical representation our great community. For me, the biggest factor is the ability to spitball with just about any random person you talk to, and the ability to go on a tangent for minutes to parts of an evening.

The web community is an open one. It thrives when we share great things. From sharing code to speaking our minds. It is a tolerant community, where time and attention are valued over money. It is a honest community, where asinine jerks get called out and good work gets recognized. And yes, there’s a bigger context around this view of perfection I have which I am going to ignore, because to me that’s as interesting as listening to a Ke$ha song.

A good tangent is as effective in exploring and organizing your thoughts as writing. Be it about the quality of peanuts in M&M’s, be it about the social ecosystem you find yourself in or be it about this crazy idea you had on your mind when you were in the shower this morning.

You don’t need to be at a web conference for this, although it helps. You don’t have to be sitting in a coffee-shop for it, although it helps. The only thing you need is a viable conversation partner. Viability starts from the point where 90% of more of their conversations is not about what other people is wearing or that “Brad totally hooked up with Emma last night” (I don’t know any Brad, nor an Emma). The other criterium is giving each other the opportunity to go on a tangent, and know you too can blurt out your thought process whenever you need to.

What I’m trying to say is that notebooks are cool and all. And writing down your thoughts gets them partially out of your mind, but there is empowerment in putting yourself out there. But there are things to be learned from a feedback loop with another person. Even if that person is not in the same industry.

It’s about conversations based on attention and mutual respect. Where thoughts and tangents are encouraged. Because I feel that these tangents embody the following quote by Frank Chimero without having to be scared if you chose the correct blog engine.

Writing is a way of organizing thought. Publishing is a way of receiving feedback.

Have more conversations. Share more thoughts. And get passionate about peanuts in M&M’s.