Don’t Tell Me, Tell My Dopplr

November 26, 2007

I just overheard a visitor to my office saying into his phone:

“Right, I saw that on your Dopplr.”

(Translation for the uninitiated: “Yes, I already knew where you are, because you and I are friends on a new Web site called Dopplr that lets you share your past, present, and future locations.”)

This was a Media Theory Moment, and naturally I turned to this blog for an outlet.

So if we all broadcast our locations and our statuses to our friends and our “friends”, what will we talk about? Will we talk less? Or just repeat ourselves less?

The phrases “Was it you I was talking to about…” and “I already told you about ____, right?” take on new meaning as “tell” takes on new meanings. My Facebook status and my Buddy Beacon update and my Dopplr log are telling you something, but it’s not the same as when I tell you in direct conversation.

Because in the latter, I first have to remember that you exist. In one of many scenarios, you and I are talking, and I mention I’ll be going somewhere, and you tell me, “Gee, so will I! Let’s meet up!”

In the former, I remembered once, a while ago, when I made you my “friend” or you made me yours. From then on, I’m reminded about you by the site we’re friends on. In one of many scenarios, the guy in my office later told me that sometimes he sees in Dopplr that several of his “friends” will be somewhere he’s going to be. Only then does he contact them to meet up.

So we might all see each other more, but we think about each other less. Hmmmm.

I’m sure there’s more theory to consider, but it’s time to go home.

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2 Responses to “Don’t Tell Me, Tell My Dopplr”

  1. Luis Villa Says:

    Relatedly: on the minus side, I don’t ask some friends ‘how are you doing’ anymore, because I probably already know from their blog. But on the plus side, I can actually get more quickly into deeper and more meaningful conversations, because I can immediately zoom in on the details. I’m not sure what the balance is there, but it is a real phenomenon.

  2. rekha6 Says:

    It depends on the blog, but I’d suspect that “How are you doing” would still elicit a different, more personal response in person. It certainly would from me, since this blog is definitely not an emotional journal. And my conversations with friends often are.

    As for the phenomenon, let’s keep thinking about its nuances and recording them here… or on your blog.


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