This afternoon I had a crazy little idea. No, not because I had some spare time. Inspired by laughing clubs in the East I wondered, ‘What if I could re-create the magic of feeling good, but virtually’. As I said, for a start this was a crazy idea and I was really taking a risk on what kind of people could join in or what they would say. Therefore, I set some ground rules. Jokes had to be clean and we had to try and make each other laugh by initially some false laughter – hopefully generating a momentum to joint laughter. In addition, a starting statement that I would not be responsible for the impact of laughing, for example, someone falling off their chair or doing themselves some damage!
The Motivation behind the task
The motivation behind all of this was the thought that laughter apparently does lead to reduced blood pressure and de-stressing. How did I arrange the virtual and International tie-up?
At approx 2pm today I set-up a: Skypecast. This allows up to 100 people to conference call on the Internet for free! What is also excellent about this service is the way in which the assigned host can control the session.The Result…
Within 60 seconds, over 30 people turned up – quite good in one sense as a total of only 55 people internationally were using Skypecast. Unless I misread the statistics, especially as just under 9,000,000 people were online performing one-to-one calls.. It took me a few moments to understand how to use the system. I decided to get only one person at a time to talk, with the rest on listening mode.People tuned in from London, Manchester, Netherlands and China. One person had just come back from a business trip in London, some were using the system for the first time. Anyway, they all loved it – That was what they said!
I also had some instant messaging going on at the same time and noticed that some people were happy to just listen in the background and occassionally comment.As the host I got people to introduce themselves, talk about where they were, what time it was in their part of the world and then attempt to tell us some clean humour. I even setup some laughing tasks, for example, 10 second burst? Or, suggesting, ‘Please give me an example of how you would chuckle’. At one point I was talking to a couple in the North part of China and doing Star Wars Yoda impressions – for example, reversing the first and last word’s and producing Star wars Jedi phrases! The couple in China found this really funny – Thanks.
At times the whole session felt a little crazy and stupid but the whole exercise gave me a buzz. Surprisingly it reinstated my faith in humanity. Across national boundaries it brought us together. Many placed friend requests in my contact list, hoping to build new online relationships. I felt for once that the Internet was not being used for profit or mistermenia. The Internet was allowing people in their homes to switch-off their televisions and widen their contact horizons.Unity through laughter was awesome. Shall I set it up again?