I haven't been making as much progress recently as I've wanted. But not because I don't know what do to but because it's just easier not to take action. I tell myself there's always another day etc. So I decided to write a mission statement each week on this blog and report back at the end of the week on my success or failure. This way I am held accountable. While the path is still murky I know I won't get clarity unless I try something.
I do have a vision of what I want the end result to look like which I never really explained so I will do so now. I want to create a social network on the subway that allows us to connect with one another while we ride and then possibly continue these relationships off the train. And the group will have a number of predefined purposes so it won't be just about meeting someone and chatting randomly. The reason for this is because it's hard to just make conversation with a stranger, but with a clearly defined motive it's easier. The way I imagine this being played out is that we all wear armbands of different colors or patterns that designate what we are interested in, perhaps blue to discuss music with a fellow rider and exchange a listen on each other's ipod, perhaps orange to share something personal or get advice, etc. And then possibly take it to the next level where we are doing things for and with each other off the train. Of course this will really be practical once we grow big enough so there is someone on nearly every train car wearing an armband. (I did get really excited about this armband idea and have spoken to a manufacturer in China about making them--30¢ or 60¢ with logo.) I also think once there is a critical mass of people doing this, it will change the whole dynamic and culture on the subway. So instead of riding to work in silence there will be another option. And for those not in the know about the group will nevertheless experience a different vibe sitting on a train where people are interacting.
So the overall mission is to build this social group! A couple days last week I pitched the idea in this way on the train. While I got some great positive responses, it became very clear to me that I need to start doing this with a partner. Start with 2 then move on to 3 and so on. If it's just me then many people think I'm a lone nut. And for those who don't think so are still reluctant engage me on the train because they don't want to be the person caught talking to the lone nut. I know this because people very often come up to me when I walk off the train or when they are about to get off and ask for a card. And for those that do stop me on the train I can tell that they are self conscious about having people watch us talk.
Now getting down to this week's mission: Get a friend to come out with me on the train to act as my first buddy in this social network.
More specifically, we get on the train together, I give a little intro talk about starting a subway social network, introduce my friend and ask if anyone wants to join us. Present it as if we're 2 morning commuters who ride this train every day to work. And we hand out cards with our contact info. But in addition we will demonstrate the social network in action by doing something with each other. My current idea is I will say that today we decided to reveal to each other something really personal or embarrassing, and we then each scribble on a paper our confession and exchange it with the other. This will get people interested and curious but we won't reveal what we wrote. But it's something everyone can imagine doing too if they became a part of the group. I have a few friends that I've made through starting this subway thing that are good candidates and plan to find one of them to join me on this, either J., T., C., K., M., or N. (using first initial for now). I am giving myself until next Thursday November 11 to get this done!