Over at 43 things, a site where people can clot together around random common goals, I see that two thousand people have revealed thier desire to “become better at small-talk.” The “learn to make polite empty chit chat” group has only 59 people. I’m a bit distressed that only one person wants to learn how to banter.
The books on small-talk advise one to talk about the weather. Though they rarely mention that it’s critical to avoid being drawn into the ongoing dispute about why nobody does anything about it. Even the origins of that particular dispute remain contentious: Mark Twain or Samuel Clements?
Talk about the weather is one of the seed crystals of group forming. It’s surprising how far you can go. When ever I’m trying to explain how much I enjoy lurking in esoteric enthusiastic groups on the internet I always mention Tornado chasers; since I was lurking in that group back in the 1980s.
All this is really preface to a shout out.
Some folks in Iowa have created Jabber chat rooms for each national weather service office. What’s sweet about these chat rooms is that they pump real time weather alerts into the rooms. So even if nobody else in your area cares to join the room this is still the best way to get real time weather alerts for your area.
For example firstname.lastname@example.org is the Jabber ID for the Boston area weather office, who’s mnemonic is BOX. Just replace that mnemonic with the appropriate one for your area.