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"Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It's the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all. How do we define this lively darting about with words, of hitting them back and forth, this sort of brief smile of ideas which should be conversation?" Guy de Maupassant

Tuesday, July 5, 2005


August 31st.  Let's spread this meme and make it global ! [link via Global Voices Online

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It's interesting to note the origin - it's from an Israeli blogger Nir Ofir, who encourages us to recommend 5 new blogs on August 31st.  What a wonderful thought !  His vision is articulated here - an excerpt follows. 

"I know, it looks like I am some kind of megalomaniac, but the truth is that I'm coming from a very humble point of view: I believe that we bloggers have to have one day in the year which will be dedicated to know other bloggers, from other countries or areas of interests. I think, that not only that we need to know other bloggers; we need also to recommend about them to our Blog visitors.

When I'm trying to see the end in mind, in this is day every blogger will post a recommendation of 5 new blogs (in the same time). In this day all Blog web surfers will find themselves leaping and discovering new, unknown blogs.

Isn't it a celebration?"

1:47:36 PM    comment []  trackback []

Multiple Blogs

As I was publishing my last post, the noises in my head again started  - about how one straddles posting across several blogs.  I have my own space here, I also write occasionally for Worldchanging, SkypeJournalGlobal Knowledge Review and Tsunamihelp.  While what I write for each of them is probably different, I always want to publish the same posts at this blog.  And often I wonder whether I am being fair.

Am wondering what others who write for multiple blogs feel about this, and do?

12:35:50 PM    comment []  trackback []

SkypeMe Eve

Also posted at SkypeJournal.


"I don't know what is wrong with people... i put my status skype me, and in my profile i say: I am on air on the radio.. if u wanna listen ok.. i can't answer calls! They made my PC freeze! I swear! People calling..., asking if i liked sex, even after i told them i was on air on my radio... i swear... people sending weird invitations! In my profile is nothing that gives the idea of me having cyber sex... Please guys... try to be more respectful to girls! A female is not only for sex, try to like her for her mind, thoughts and ideas... not her "being female". I AM MAD...."

This comment, among many others, from one angry lady in the Skype Forums spurred me to experiment with and explore this area some more. I switched on my profile to SkypeMe, and waited. In the short span of 10 minutes, I got 4 requests for authorisation, had 4 calls, and 3 chats. With guys mainly from Africa and Asia. All getting personal real quick, some wanting me to move over to MSN, asking for photos and webcams, pretty much all after my body. In fact, I ended up interviewing one caller and he told me he was at the office, and usually spent half an hour from 9.30- 10 am looking for female company. He had made many women friends in China and Vietnam. Most of the calls however terminated when I told them I was merely interested in researching this area!

It felt a bit like hanging out in a chatroom - except that I didn't get pinged by bots. As a medium too, I felt less in control, as I couldnot lurk or watch others.

In contrast, Stuart who was experimenting with me, got 1 authorisation request from a male conference call with doctors in England, within the time.

Makes me wonder whether the SkypeMe button attached to a 'female' profile somehow suggests a new form of phone sex. The discussion at the forum indicates this.

I also did a search for females with SkypeMe turned on, and it was interesting to see just 4 profiles with this. Female India Skypeme showed up no women at all. Still, I got flooded with calls and messages. I don't really know whether its a slow directory or is the "Hit on me" stigma preventing women from switching it on?

How do I currently cope being a woman on Skype? I'm usually always in an 'away' mode or 'not available'. This is done with a purpose - to keep away intrusions. Friends and colleagues are aware of it and call me anyway. I have allowed calls only from my contact list, but I didn't want to restrict the chats, so that's open. I have tried to put off the 'red-hot-huge' types by a note in my profile that reads : "I'd appreciate it if you sent me a brief message before asking for an authorization, tell me a little bit about you, and your interest in talking to me." Still, on an average day, I get at least 6 requests for authorisation, and several chat messages. I ignore all that do not indicate an interest in some specific area of my work or blog. If they persist more than once, I block them. I try to gauge from the Skype name and profile more about the person trying to contact me - if the person has a blog I tend to start a conversation but RedHotHuge is a definite no-no.

So what does all of this mean for women on Skype? Does it limit our freedom to connect? Are we restricting people who can contact us and sometimes filtering out people who we may find interesting? Does that reduce our reach and potential in communication? How do other women feel - is it a problem, or just a nuisance? Does it prevent them from sharing video capabilities too?

Do men also get hit-on when they are on SkypeMe?

Would love to hear your views on this.

I would like to keep the Skypeme button on - as a person, I am greedy for conversations with people all over the world. It could potentially be such a neat conversation-research-marketing-sales tool, whatever your interest may be. Imagine if a car salesman puts up a small note - best bargains for Toyota Corolla in India against the SkypeMe button, you enter the discussion if you are interested and it's potentially much more rewarding than a cold advertisement. Or someone is initiating a discussion on Julia Cameron's the Artist's Way and sets up a chat topic where you could just click and join and share how you are using the book to unleash your creative juices. Or I am researching MTV promos on air in India or how Skype is changing the way we communicate - and I add this shows up in my SkypeMe profile, with a click to join the discussion. 24/7 global group discussions for free :).

However, for now, its off, as the intrusions are far greater than meaningful conversations. Some issues I hope Skype will address that might help me keep this channel open :

- can we have layered profiling, where I could display different levels of profile to different people - for instance, I am willing to share my photo and contact details with my buddylist, whereas for callers outside of my contact list, I'd rather not.

- is there any way of filtering out and blocking keywords in the text function and the authorisation requests?

Please drop in your suggestions at Skypejournal or here.

12:27:22 PM    comment []  trackback []