Life’s too short

I love the web. I love that people who have never met can create amazing things. It is incredible that people across the world can find each other because of shared hobbies, passions and ideas, decide to work together and just start creating.

Ideas need a place to grow. They need time, love and attention. They often need different skills, talents and insights to really grow. In short, they need communities. They need people to be social, and then they need to become social.

I first came across the idea of social objects in a post by JP Rangaswami a few years ago. I worked at BT when JP was a CIO there, and his writing has always been insightful and interesting, and always provides something that requires a bit more research. I followed a couple of the links in the post and came across Hugh MacLeod’s work on social objects. You can read more about them here, here and here.

The Social Object, in a nutshell, is the rea­son two peo­ple are tal­king to each other, as oppo­sed to tal­king to some­body else. Human beings are social ani­mals. We like to socia­lize. But if you think about it, there needs to be a rea­son for it to hap­pen in the first place. That rea­son, that “node” in the social net­work, is what we call the Social Object.

A few weeks ago, I saw the power of social objects close up and I found it inspiring so I wanted to share it.

A good friend of mine (Matt Reilly) is a budding writer. Over the years he has entered a few competitions and had a couple of short stories published. In 2012 he wrote a short story on his phone whilst travelling from work. He submitted it to a website and it was the featured story of the day. He was happy with that and didn’t really give it another thought. And then he became connected with a couple of guys (Giles Crawford and Mick Schubert) who were fans of Matt’s uncle’s band, The Durutti Column. Matt had been trying to help out his Uncle Vini who had fallen on hard times.

Giles and Mick had found out it was coming up to Matt’s birthday and wanted to do something for him. As it happened, they were super talented. They took his story and turned it in to a cartoon which they sent to him on his birthday. Matt was amazed that they had done something like that for him. He then posted it on hitRECord.

And now it has gone social. On hitRECord it has found a community that wants to collaborate. The first addition was from a guy called Kevin Maistros who added colour and texture to the comic. The piece inspired Kevin to use the piece as a storyboard so that he could cast his mother and grandmother in a short film.

Now, Kathryn Fox, has started working on a script for the short film. Draft 1 was closely followed by draft 2. Each iteration right from the very original has been a work of art. An addition of talent, creativity, love and energy. Each version an embellishment on the one before. And none of this could have happened without an openness to share and a desire for people to contribute their own unique gifts. It is now a collaboration. If you happen to have the skills, passion and desire to get involved, please do. I am curious to see where it goes next.

All of this has played out on twitter, facebook, hitRECord and other blogging sites. It has had thousands of hits, hundreds of recommendations, 5 different re-incarnations and more to come. It is truly a social object and was fuelled by a chance interaction and separate shared interest.

The first time I read the story, I loved it. It has even got my fingers itching to compose a piece of music for it (it has been a long time since I’ve even played the piano never mind composed music).

The moral? “There are two things that we can never have enough of… Time and Love.” Hopefully, the openness and connectedness of the web and the communities that interact within it will enable us all to give more of our time and love to things we truly appreciate.


One Comment on “Life’s too short”

  1. Matt Reilly says:

    Great blog as always, Phil. Although I’m not sure it’s appropriate for me to say that when I’m mentioned in the blog. Oh well, too late ;D
    Nah, seriously though, it’s always interesting to read things from another person’s perspective.


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