am I available for conversation right now dot com

I don’t know if I like this idea, but I’m giving it a try; I’ve added a “Now” page to my website ( davidbieber.com/now).

The idea for now pages is described at https://nownownow.com/about.

Basically, a now page says what’s going on in the author’s life now. Not right now – that would be a “right now page” – but rather, now in the broader sense of “what’s are you up to these days?”

This post isn’t about my new Now page though, which I don’t necessarily plan to keep up (if the link 404s, you know why). Rather, this post is about an idea for a kind of “right now” page that I’m toying with building.

I’d like to make a page that tells the reader if I’m likely available for a conversation right now. I’d call it the “is David available to talk now” page, and here’s how it might work.

It aims only to give a best guess as to whether I can talk now.

It says No during work.
It says No during sleep hours.
It says No while I’m on a phone call / skype / zoom / meet etc
It says No if I have recently been on a call for a long time

It says Yes during explicitly set times (there would be a button I can press to set it to Yes for 30 minutes)

If I’m deliberately in a public space (e.g. Gather Town, Clubhouse) AND looking for conversation (aka I’ve pushed the button), then it shows where to find me.

And the rest of the time, it simply shrugs.

Why would I want such a system?

Well, what I really want is for everyone to use such a system. I want the “open door” system that professors so often use; if my door is open, you’re welcome to come in and talk. I want to avoid people avoiding saying hi because they don’t know if I’m available. And I want to avoid the mental overhead of making plans for conversations that aren’t time sensitive. Plans are tough.

My ideal system for when I want to talk to someone isn’t “let’s pick a time to talk”, because that has scheduling overhead and will likely break up my day at an inconvenient time. Instead, I’d prefer a more flexible approach. When I’m free, I open my door (a digital, virtual, door). I send you a message that I’d like to talk; you see it when you’re free (because you have notifications disabled 👍). If I’m still free then, my door will still be open and we can talk. If I’ve moved on to another activity, my door will be closed and we’ll reconnect later.

In the absence of doors, the “is David available to talk now” page is my idea for an approximation.

But I don’t know yet how I would build it. The idea requires programmatically determining when I’ve been on the phone, in skype, in zoom, etc. I haven’t looked into how approachable these services are to work with. And I likely won’t. This is the sort of idea that, while fun to entertain, will likely need to morph considerably before it turns into a real project. Such is the nature of the Snippet.

Related