Weekend read: but what about you?

I write a personal blog called Self Distract every Friday and today’s one, intended to be just an aside and a musing on things if not necessarily amusing about anything, has caused some comments. Lots of nice things but also people identifying with its topic.

That topic was about conversation and how when we talk to friends, we have to make it a joint, two-way thing. Let me set the scene:

Okay, you may have trouble swallowing this considering how I go on at you every week. But when we meet in person, I am infinitely – infinitely – more interested in you than I am in me. Have I said this to you before? I tell you everything, I must’ve mentioned it: my attitude when nattering away with someone is that I know all about me, I was there, I saw me do it, let’s talk about you.

Truly, time spent talking about me is wasted and boring. I’m not knocking myself, I’m just not interested and I have plenty of time to know me, I might get only minutes with you. And look at you: look at all you’re doing, all you know that I don’t, how could I possibly waste any time talking about me?

I got told off for this today.

It’s not you, it’s me – William Gallagher, Self Distract (6 March 2015)

Read the full piece for what happened – and, much more interestingly, how it might ring some bells with yo.

How to criticise someone’s work

I had a thing the other day where someone was so gleeful about how much she disliked my work that I imagined her rolling up her sleeves to dive in, I imagined she was going to take the skin off my arms – and I knew the piece would be improved for it. I was ready to bleed to make that piece better.

And unfortunately that didn’t happen. Most of her comments were clever and useful, but none were worth the glee. Most peculiar. Very disappointing. Quite fascinating.

I was happy with the glee if it got me the blood but there are ways to avoid both and Brain Pickings has featured one good ‘un. According to the Brain Pickings site, philosopher Daniel Dennett, says:

You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.
You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently – Maria Popova, Brain Pickings (28 March 2014)

Share and share sort of, a bit, kinda alike


If there’s one question I get asked about how to do things online, well, actually, I don’t know what it is, I haven’t been keeping track. But I do very often get asked how to send somebody something. It’ll be how to send a photo, how to forward a webpage, all sorts of things and the answer always begins “You see that ‘Share’ icon?”

Unfortunately their response nearly always begins with “What ‘Share’ icon?” because there are so many and, arguably, none of them really sing out to you as meaning the thing by which you show somebody something. I think the Apple one up there, the square with an arrow bursting out, is the clearest but I am also certain that I think this only because it’s the one I see most often.

Min Ming Lo sees more of them: that image above is from his blog where he says:

What do each of these symbols have in common? They are all trying to convey the exact same action – share! Sharing to a social network or via email is a ubiquitous action nowadays but designers have still not been able to reach a consensus on what symbol to use to represent it. Not only does each major platform use a different icon, but they’ve each witnessed changes over the years.

I have spent sometime thinking about this, trying to figure out which symbol best conveys sharing to the user.

Share: the Icon Nobody Agrees On – Min Ming Lo

He does come to a kind of conclusion. But it’s the journey that’s worth the read, especially when you see the strange ideas different companies have for what icon to use.