I often state the importance to me of the distributed conversations that blogging and other online interaction, but also travel and making new contacts that continue online, generate. Mostly that effect isn’t easily made tangible, the loops and traces too convoluted to easily explain. But sometimes it suddenly is tangible.

Like when I received a message late 2019 from a civil servant who heard me present in 2012 in Dublin, where I happened to show quite a number of examples of the role of crowd sourcing in building public services, which we chatted about afterwards. It gave him a kernel of an idea and an altered direction. Seven years on he let me know how that tiny nudge ultimately led to his city’s involvement in mapping in its entirety a very different country in much higher detail. I was amazed at the work they did, and grateful he traced his own involvement in that work to a remark I made while presenting, and thinking to let me know years later.
This is also how I have been making notes since before secondary school. Whom I talked to, where ideas came from, what associations a conversation gave me.

Sometimes the timelines involved are shorter. Early last week I read a blogposting of a friend about a book he read, which led me to ordering and reading 4 titles from the same author. I read them these past days and enjoyed them very much. So I mailed him for his address to send him a thank you card and a book I enjoyed myself and I suspect he may too. Independent from that he mails me to thank me for the podcast I posted about, because it contained a story about software procurement gone wrong for ignoring how people actually work together, and how he used it as an example in a conversation with a client, which led to a breakthrough in perspective. Our mutual thanks crossing eachother, much like how our different strands of conversation cross eachother.

A chance encounter with a Twitter message about Ukrainian artisans and independent professionals and shops, led me to exploring some of them and finding additional ones. Thinking I could maybe support some of them by placing orders for their products. Much like I did two years ago with independent book stores during pandemic lockdowns. Which in turn led to an email conversation with an independent Ukrainian publisher after they asked how I found them.

I’ve mentioned it before, my sense of beauty resides in that mix of complex human interaction and life, the layers, both positive and negative that make up our shared context and connection.

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