conversation is an engine

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The Alchemy of a Thought Remembered

with 6 comments

Follow the Instinct to Say Again

We talk endlessly about the question “What is remarkable?” in my social media class. I am convinced that the bits of life that we remember to tell someone else are the very things that make for great conversations. It is that instinct that also powers engaging social media.


Say I run into an old friend and remember I finally read that book she told me about two years ago. Why did I wait so long? “The chapter about the train ride through the Alps was unbelievable and may have changed my life,” I say. I just remembered all this when I saw my friend and she said “train.” I can see that she is happy I read and enjoyed the book—one of her favorites.

Curiously, it is the running into the friend that pulls the trigger on the remembered thought. That instinct to pull from memory a thought stored for a particular person is one to follow. But maybe I did not store a thought for a person. Maybe I just registered a reaction to the book and I’ve been telling anyone who will listen—simply because I think they might find it interesting

Three things about this instinct to remark:

  1. We often remember for someone—we know they will like this thing and so we tell them.
  2. In a simple remark, we break complex thoughts into pieces and parts that can be verbalized. We want to be heard so we anticipate the questions our friend will say and pepper our talk on the fly with the answers they seek.
  3. The connection powers the thought and the communication. And so this memory or thought that becomes a remark goes on to cheer or enlighten or delight our friend.

The answer to “What is remarkable?” has its roots in a mystical intersection of connection, remembering and communicating. We might wish for such connection in our social media practice. The model for true connection is our plain old remarks to friends.


Image credit: Kirk Livingston

6 Responses

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  1. So true. 😊


    January 29, 2016 at 3:07 pm

  2. Because the plain old stuff is where we are all the same and can relate. My .02.

    Laura (Createarteveryday)

    January 30, 2016 at 6:50 am

  3. This really reinforces the idea that Social Media and building a platform needs be founded on a relationship with the members of the community. It’s so important to hear what viewers are saying, get to know their preferences and interests. That way it is easier to find points of commonality and create content that engages them.

    Kate Pankratz

    January 30, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    • Kate, thanks for the comment. I like that focus on relationship, especially when thinking about “building a platform.” It’s a one-by-one thing, isn’t it?


      January 30, 2016 at 6:00 pm

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