simultaneous lives

I love that title. I’m not sure I can explain what I mean.

self-portraitIt came to me when I was thinking about how much I want to watch the flow of digital expressions of our two kids, living away from home but both (occasionally) tweeting and texting and blogging and statusing.

It came when I was thinking about the wanting to listen to the digital observations, both mundane and heart-revealing, of a growing circle of friends.

It came when I was thinking about “putting it on paper”, a phrase from Chris and Julien.* They talk about capturing your thoughts in writing (video, drawing, digitally), so that they can be useful to others, so you don’t have to answer a question 50 times, so that when you have answered 500 different questions, you have a massive resource on a particular subject, so that when you have written 300 words a day for 200 days you have 60,000 words captured.

It came to me when I realized that while doing all of those observing and writing activities, I was also need to (and get to) have conversations and presentations and times to fix things and solve problems and provide advice. And that any of those that I want to put on paper will take the place of at least a few more of those.

It came to me when I realized that I am wanting to participate in many lives simultaneously, many of them my own.

This isn’t about digital and face-to-face friends. This is a little, I suppose, about time and attention management. It’s partially about managing streams of data flowing. It may be mostly about lives I care deeply about living in other geographies.

Whatever it is, I’ll let you know when we sort it out.


*The phrase is in Trust Agents, their book about building trust. I first heard the phrase at SOBcon 09, where they were talking about the concepts publicly for one of the first times.


5 responses to “simultaneous lives

  1. Once again, Jon, you articulate something that many of us experience but have no words for. I agree that time and attention management grows increasingly complicated as we widen our circle. With our new digital relationships, the answer to “how many places can I be at once?” becomes limitless.

  2. And, of course, Annie, it is often the digital component being added to our existing relationships that adds to the confusion and pressure.

  3. A phone conversation and a Facebook “conversation” with two fairly new friends this morning remind me that the challenge of keeping up with simultaneous lives is worth the investment–both connections left me with big smiles and one even evoked an exclamation of “That was fun!”

  4. love the photo on this one 🙂

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