Sometimes I get really, extremely excited about things and I have trouble understanding why my effusive explanations and verbal fireworks are not compelling to people. I talked a bit about this difficulty in explaining things in a brownbag at Azavea today. (Thanks for the invite!)
Recently, my difficulty in translating enthusiasm into persuasion has been highlighted in my (mostly unsuccessful) campaign for everyone I know or encounter in the world to begin watching "The Americans." No matter how loudly or slowly I speak, most people just shrug and do not immediately begin watching the pilot on Amazon Prime.
I've tried to channel my frustration at my floundering persuasion skills into an opportunity to share some tactics for spreading excitement and actually connecting with other people that, you know, work.
Show rather than tell. A great example of this in action is a hackathon. A hackathon is a great way for someone to not just see, but also become involved in, the process of understanding what is so exciting about collaborative problemsolving. I find it hard to explain how that works without someone just *going* (which is pretty unsatisfying in trying to make the case to a boss, and we'll get to that in a minute), but when you're immersed in a good hackathon, it's this unparalleled experience of people learning and teaching one another without even realizing it's happening. The sharing is just what happens, seemingly by osmosis, and even six months later, a tactic or tool a teammate used ends up being just the thing to solve a problem, or that person is a new contact to email for help.
The lobby of the Marriott in downtown Baltimore is already crowded with news nerds and the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting annual conference has only just begun. A bunch of OpenNews staff and Fellows are in town and we've got a lot of exciting stuff to share with the NICAR community this year. This is your cheat sheet to where to find OpenNews and what you'll want to chat with us about.