October 1, 2012 1:50 PM   Subscribe

My interviewing website, called Conversus, is a place where people can tell any story they want. My experience interviewing includes as a radio, television, print reporter and as well as a freelance videographer and writer, and through my work as a public affairs officer. Because I have talked to hundreds of people during my career (maybe thousands), I have a good sense for what motivates people to share, namely asking a simple question and then, listening. I have had many five minute conversations with strangers who's stories could've been made into indie film sagas, only to have them disappear never to be seen again. I think these interactions are the stuff that fuel us and give us empathy for each other.

And in my opinion, social networks are an example of just how important it is for people to believe other people think what they have to say is important, not matter why they are saying it. Storycorps, an NPR project that that lets intimates talk with each other (which has been ongoing for at least 10 years), as well as The Moth, a PRI project that lets people tell a lifechanging story on stage, have convinced me that the voice is the last, intensely personal but overlooked medium through which people can reach out to each other. Weblogs are a perfect example of people using a medium to go into personal detail about something important to them. Even PostSecret, a project that let people talk about something painfully personal (ableit, in one direction) via anonmyously mailed postcards, shows how important it is for people to tell their story. But unlike screen based social media, these interviews, long or short, personal or not, can be downloaded and carried with the listener. I expect some people, in the social media mindset, or the tell your own story mindset might find this appealing, which is why I conceived it. This is a thumbnail description since I can't anticipate all of the questions I might get. I would appreciate any and all thoughtful criticism, negative, neutral and positive. Thank you.
Role: Creator
posted by CollectiveMind (2 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I'm surprised you didn't get any comments on this. Frankly I think it's a great idea. It reminds me of Studs Terkel's book "Work" where there is a lot of fascinating information in what on the surface might appear to be mundane. But I'm not sure about the five minute time constraint. One of my biggest frustrations is how brief most interviews are. Answers are always cut short by the need to go to next question or finish the interview. Those time constraints have a huge negative impact on the overall substance of the interview. One reason I love MetaFilter is because in a sense it's the anti-Twitter and anti-Facebook. People go into long detailed explanations and descriptions, and there is so much sincerity in all the writing and interactions. I would like to hear personal stories in depth rather than in abbreviated format.
posted by Dansaman at 11:09 PM on January 14, 2013

Dansaman, deliciae, Knicke and Kadin2048, thank you very much for your comments and votes. I am collecting a wide array of conversations from artists, authors and other people, trying to figure out what people want to hear.

The interviews I've posted on my site have been listened to collectively about 1500 times. And my average interview is about 45 minutes long. So, that's 1500x45 or 67500 minutes. Since the average song download is 3.5 minutes, that's equal to 19285 song plays, which makes me feel a little better.

I'm fortunate that I am always finding interesting people to talk to. The trick is getting people to listen and see the site as a resource for interviews and an incubator for future interviewing. I'll keep plugging along.
posted by CollectiveMind at 9:26 AM on January 29, 2013

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