An answer for Shubber Ali – The Tipping Point of Space Tourism (it’s not Snark 1.0)

4 10 2006

Like many of those who have been eagerly reading Anousheh Ansari‘s Space Blog, I am disappointed that some have chosen her blog as a place to vent their own issues, without adding anything to the global conversation.

Here’s an answer for you Shubber Ali:
Anousheh Ansari engaged many people around the world by sharing her experience as a female Iranian space tourist in a blog in more than one language, with photos and video. No, Anousheh is not the first space tourist. No, Anousheh is not the first blogger. No, Anousheh is not the first person to blog in two languages. Yes, Anousheh is a woman. Yes, Anousheh is from Iran. Yes, Anousheh is the first person to blog from space. Yes, this is something very new.

Shubber Ali mentions that Anousheh is fourth and is not therefore new. This completely misses the point as newness is not why Anousheh is popular, her ability to engage is.

There have been three space tourists previously, but they did not contribute like this to the global conversation, they did not connect with the global community. For every Neil Armstrong there is also a Michael Collins. No one is disparaging the visits of the other three, they just didn’t have this level of engagement with the global community.

Alan Bean was the fourth person on the moon, for those of you playing at home. But what exactly does that have to do with Anousheh, other than give you a chance to prove how “old school” you are (real subtle).

Anousheh Ansari has shared thoughts in a blog, shared photos on Flickr, published her vacation videos for the world to see, told us what it’s like to wash hair in space and generally brought a little bit of space to everyone, not just the “old school” people who don’t want to share, not just the adults, not just the rich, not just the science geeks, and not just the men from America.

Some people say if you scratch a cynic, you’ll find a disappointed idealist underneath. If there’s any idealism left Shubber, I think I’d rather hear some of that, or even what has disappointed you.

So far, most of Shubber’s blogging has dissappointingly been of the shallow, snarky, substanceless sort of name-calling and insult hurling that is all-to-common these days in the blogosphere.

At this point in time, I’d rather read Anousheh’s blog over yours, any day of the week. It’s not a matter of perspective, it’s not about fan clubs or what’s cool. It’s about engagement and conversation.

You don’t know how to engage your fellow man online Shubber Ali, have a think about it. Snark is not a conversation, it’s just rude.



4 responses

5 10 2006
Jack Kennedy

Your points with regard to Shubber Ali’s comments are right-on. I recently listened to him for an hour of The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston. Shubber Ali sounds like he needs something positive to happen in his life. I wish him well. Anousheh will make a significant contribution beyond being the fourth private space flight participant. I am eager to see what she comes-up with in a suborbital vehicle with the Russians very soon.

Good blog!

17 10 2006
Shubber Ali

You don’t know how to engage your fellow man online Shubber Ali, have a think about it. Snark is not a conversation, it’s just rude.

That’s rich, after you spend an entire column being snarky. But hey, opinions and blogs are like, well, you know.

At least Anousheh thanked me – she’s apparently much more reading comprehension capable than the vast majority of those of you who followed her blog and attacked me are capable of being.

As for Jack, what’s sadder – my being on the show, or you sitting around listening to it?

I have plenty of things positive happening in my life, almost none of them related to space. But if you can’t attack the message, attack the messenger – which seems to be the track all of you are on.

17 10 2006

Again Shubber, I have yet to see you post a single thing without being defensive or attacking someone.

It leaves people with a very bad impression of you, which I’m sure is undeserved. Get yourself copies of Naked Conversations and The Cluetrain Manifesto. I don’t think you’ve found your true voice online and I would like to hear it.

16 11 2006

Can you please advise what happens with hair growth while in space? I see pics of shaving and hair trims, does the hair grow faster/slower and do you happen to know at what rates??

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