Oblique Conversations

One of my favorite features of delicious is the ability to “send” emails to other users by using “for:” tags. I regularly stumble across resources that I want to share with my colleagues, and my practice is increasingly to delicious the site and then add a tag for that individual.

I love the way that this feature allows me to engage with people I know in indirect, yet interesting ways. If I sent them an email, it would likely get lost in the river of messages flowing through their inbox. If I waited until I saw them next, I’d probably either forget to mention it or inadequately describe how to find it. With a delicious “for:” tag, I can send something to their delicious account where they can, at their leisure, login, view the item, and choose whether or not to save it.

I’m intrigued by the way in which this allows me to participate in an interesting kind of subtle conversation with people. For lack of a better term, I’m going to call it an “oblique conversation.”

The next time I’m with that person, I can generally anticipate that he or she will have seen the resource I’ve tagged, and in a way our face-to-face conversation can be informed by that sharing.

Along these same lines, I was reading my Bloglines account yesterday and the whole thing was feeling a bit stagnant. I subscribe to lots of wonderful blogs, but some days it might be nice to see something completely different. I started to think about what it would be like to live in someone else’s Bloglines account for a day or a week. Would this allow me to sort of see the world (or some slice of it) through someone else’s eyes? And the next time I was in the same room with that person, wouldn’t it be interesting to see how that experience, or that oblique conversation, might affect our face to face interaction?

Not sure where to go with all of that, but I find the whole notion intriguing.