Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hangin' with celebrities

I hang out with celebrities. Virtually. Sort-of.

Okay, fine. That's not even close to true. However, over the last year I have had a few experiences on Twitter where I tweeted back and forth with famous people. Alright, people famous among nerds.

A little over a year ago, the TWiT network started a new show called This Week in Google. Since I was already a Google fanboy, I subscribed and started listening. At first, one of the panelists got on my nerves because of how often he promoted his book. The panelist is Jeff Jarvis and his book is What Would Google Do. So I voiced my opinion over twitter:
The grotesque self promotion of @jeffjarvis was pretty thick on TWIG 7! We get it, you wrote a book. Talk about something else! #twit
I import my tweets into Facebook, plus I wasn't sure I had gotten my point across in that tweet (140 characters is very limiting), so I clarified what I wanted:
I want to see if @jeffjarvis can go the entire episode of TWIG tomorrow without saying "WWGD" a single time. I bet he can't do it. #twit
I then felt a little bad shouting out into space about someone I barely knew and who probably wouldn't have the chance to defend himself (plus he had just undergone surgery for prostate cancer). So I tweeted:
Lest you think I'm a hater: I actually like a lot of the ideas @jeffjarvis shares and am glad his surgery went well
While I knew it was a possibility he'd read it, I did not think he would respond. Well, he did read it and he did respond. I do not have his response saved, but here is what I said in answer to his response:
@jeffjarvis Sure. I would normally expect a little self promotion. I just think you went overboard with it this last week.
I also said:
@jeffjarvis It was probably just a function of @leolaporte mentioning @audible_com saying to plug other books besides yours
He then responded saying the more complaints he received, the more he would keep on doing it. So I said:
@jeffjarvis Doh! I better stop complaining.
During the next week's episode, Jeff did not mention his book title at all. Not even once. Leo did it for him when he found out Jeff wasn't going to, but Jeff did not do it any that week and was much better about it in the future. So I ate crow:
Finally got around to listening to TWIG. Props to @jeffjarvis for not plugging his book any this week! #twit

Needless to say, I feel more loyalty to Jeff now that he responded and changed because of my (and probably other's) comments. In a later podcast he mentioned "the ethic of the permalink" and a couple articles he had written about it. I asked him for the references to the articles:
@jeffjarvis Any suggestions for good reading on the "ethic of the permalink?" #TWiG #TWiT
I thought that lightning would not strike twice, but it did! He responded. I do not have his response, but he sent me the references to two articles which I retweeted:
@jeffjarvis Excellent articles. Thanks for the response. RT:

The reason I write about this now is that it happened to me again a couple weeks ago. This time I found myself getting disgruntled listening to This Week in Tech. Kara Swisher was on for the third time. The previous time she was on I found her grating against the TWiT flow, and the same thing happened again this time. So I tweeted:
Not really a big fan of @karaswisher on TWIT. She's obviously good at what she does, I just think she doesn't mesh with the TWIT feel well.
Kara co-hosts and co-produces The D Conference, which basically makes her a journalistic goddess in the tech industry. This is one of the reasons I was confused by both my dislike of her on TWiT and her response to my tweet:
@ncooprider hmm, not in love with tech enough?
First off, why would she even bother responding to me, a lowly software engineer on the other side of the country? Second, what the heck did she mean? My first instinct was that she was making fun of me by saying I was not in love with tech enough. My wife's first instinct was that she was referring to herself. At first I found this laughable. However, I thought about it some more. I responded to her again, but the conversation really had no legs and she did not bother to answer my second tweet:
@karaswisher I've been trying to put my finger on what I think is off. Maybe you are just different and come on less often, so it is jarring
I did eventually figure out the difference. I think most panelists on TWiT are nerds and geeks first and journalists somewhere after that. Kara, on the other hand, seems like a professional journalist first, and she covers nerds and geeks. It makes her less of a "buddy" on the show.

My wife and I recently watched Notting Hill. I think the theme of that movie applies to my experiences with Jeff and Kara. We tend to put these people up on a pedestal and consider them other-worldly. However, they really are normal people. Sometimes they read our tweets. Sometimes they respond. Even though they are normal people, it still made my day every time.

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