My Take-Aways From The Book The Age Of Conversation

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, April 25, 2008 at 08:17 AM with 5 comments

Have you ever been alone in a crowded room? It can happen to anyone, and the remedy is to engage in the conversation of the room. So not to look like a bull in a china store, you put yourself out there, introduce yourself, listen and participate. Soon you will shed the wallflower costume.

Broaden the scope of the room to the entire planet, and that is the idea behind the book The Age of Conversation. If you are reading The Hot Iron or other blogs, you may have seen the word “conversation” used a lot. Rather than people posting static comments on a Web site, they (as done here) open it up to comments, thus making the post a topic of conversation and comments the interaction of the conversation. In this book, Gavin Heaton and Drew McLennan posted a topic – on conversation itself – and received 103 comments, which are compiled and presented in book form.

My greatest takeaway is that, at a high level, conversation online is not much different than offline. Norms of having a dialogue with people you have just met or really don’t know still apply, and the idea is to engage with others. Of course the online medium provide greater advantages you don’t get offline, such as engaging with people on the other side of the planet or typically untouchable CEOs.

Another takeaway is that we tend to gravitate to people we share a common opinion or approach with; likeminded individuals. With 103 ideas presented, naturally you won’t agree with the content or approach of all of them, and that was the case with me. Ideas presented by people that were practical or less prophesizing resonated with me more as I tend to take a more practical approach.

A final takeaway was the need for such a book. More and more I find myself explaining social media and networking to people, whether they are friends, clients or colleagues. In the grand scheme of things it is still a new topic. A book like this can serve as an introduction to what you can gain from having such conversations, as well as be a catalyst for creating your Facebook account once and for all.

I recommend The Age of Conversation for both folks in the conversation and not. It is not all words either – there are several illustrations, with my favorite being from my friend AJ in Sydney, Australia. Interestingly, through AJ I met Gavin Heaton several years back. Through this book, I have reconnected with him, as his name rang a bell when several other people recommended the project behind it to me. Which is the whole idea, isn’t it?

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