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Sunday, July 4, 2004

Facing Novelty, Gmail or elsewhere

My blog at Blogger was dreaming it's way over there since 2002. Most of my energy was invested in the Hebrew blog, which indeed is a beauty.

Then, you know what happened: Google acquired Blogger and lots of features I, and probably many others, were asking for, materialized.

Meanwhile, I heard about GMail and my immediate response was enthusiastic. I love new things, as long as they do not go against my way of life (the way mobile phones do).

I thought I'll have to wait until Gmail opens to the public.

Imagine how pleased I was when a direct invitation appeared on my entry page at Blogger.

I liked Gmail immediately and am enjoying it to this moment. It's a special opportunity to be involved with a project at its experimental stage.

When the red line, INVITE A FRIEND, started to appear, my healthy goodwill went to work.

Then it reached the level where once or twice a day I would be offered six invitations.

The Hebrew is not yet perfected at Gmail, so of course I offered the toy first to my compatriots, so that more of us will be a asking for the completion of this feature.

I posted a short article on my Hebrew blog and, to my amazement, I got some comments, from very intelligent readers, who did not have yet the chance to sample the novelty, stating firmly that gmail is no good, there are many others like it etc.

On the other hand, some of the people who wrote to ask for an invitation, started posting their enthusiastic experiences.

The invitations kept flooding me so I posted a notice on the excellent Haaretz forum.

What happened there?

Suspicion reigned! How come she's giving something for free. And why the e-mail address, is there a hidden intention to harvest?

Needless to say, Suspicious in Tel Aviv used only nicks.

That was really funny, especially when people who knew me and recipients of my invitations raised to counter attack and war in a cup of tea followed intensely until the enemy was defeated completely.

If you could visit now the forum, you'll find a stream of posts begging for a gmail invitation...

Same at my e-mail arriving via the Hebrew blog. The people who were so negative or suspicious are now mildly asking for an invitation.

This little unintended experiment sheds so much light on our attitudes and responses to new ideas. It's true we do not burn anybody on the stack anymore for such heresy, but still, with too many people the initial response is fear and suspicion.

But now I remember that this is only an initial response. So, if I believe in something, even if it is not that popular in the beginning, why give up. People do listen to reason, not only to demagogues and manipulators.

One person wrote at the forum saying sincerely: "I was also suspicious at the beginning. It really bothers me that this was my initial response."

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