There’s a game I play via Twitter every now and then that I’ve named “Call Chris.” The premise of the game is simple: I post my cell phone number and invite people to call me. I give a suggested topic, but that’s just an icebreaker. Ultimately, you could talk to me about whatever’s on your mind. There are some fun experiences with this, and I really enjoy the human connections that the game brings to the forefront.
But it’s really funny how many questions I get about the game, and how people respond. Here’s some behind the scenes, my motives, and some of the more memorable things that happen during these moments, in no particular order.
First, Why I Do It
You’ve heard of Occam’s Razor? It’s the logical problem that basically says that what appears most likely is usually also the correct answer. Why do I play the game “Call Chris?” To talk with people. Why do YOU use your phone? But if you’re asking why I invite any of over 2000 people to dial me at their leisure? The answer is that this is a way to sample humanity and make human voice connection with people that I probably haven’t met, or maybe haven’t spoken with for a while. Simple, really. It’s the “social” in social media and networks. Humans.
There are some recurring customers. Almost always, Steve Garfield dials in, and most times, I get to talk with him for a few minutes (sorry I missed you tonight, Steve!). I very often get a mix of folks who’ve played the game before, and some folks who are new to it. Tonight, I talked with Shashi for the first time. I talked with the fabulous Amaya T from Uncle Seth (first time since NYC months ago). I spoke with Kim Haynes down in Texas. I spoke with David Solomont, and a few others. Part of the fun of it is the mix. LOTS of people don’t call for fear it’s a weird gimmick, or out of a bit of shyness.
My Biggest Regret
I do this with my cell phone. There’s no “switchboard” function to have people hold or know that I saw their call. So I call back as many people as I can who call while I’m still on another phone call. But for those who leave a message, I often love those, too. I’m just sorry I can’t talk with everyone who tries to call in. I really do try.
Isn’t This a Waste of Time?
Only if you think getting to know people a little bit more is a waste of time. I think it’s great when I can do this. How often do you get to further explore conversations with people you don’t know very well, and add a voice to the textual side of your relationship? Not a waste to me. I only wish I could do it more.
Should You Play Call __yournamehere__?
Sure! What’s to lose but a few cell phone minutes? Biggest caution: sometimes, people won’t call you. Bad timing, wrong moment, not sure what to say. Don’t fret. Don’t sweat it. When the time you’ve given for the “game” is up, say, “Well, thanks for playing” and call it a day. Try some other time. That’s cool. The opposite happens? People call the hell out of you? Turn the phone off after a while. It’s temporary. (I post my cell phone number on my website. It’s NEVER been an issue so far).
So there you have it. Questions? Thoughts?