Well, it’s not really from Clippy, the hated Microsoft “helper” that came with Office and was finally buried in 2007. Clippy is mentioned in this fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal by Stanford professor Clifford Nass:
When BMW introduced one of the most sophisticated navigation and telematics systems into its 5 Series car in Germany a decade ago, it represented the pinnacle of German engineering excellence, with great advances in accuracy and functionality. Yet BMW was forced to recall the product—because the system had a female voice. The service desk had received numerous calls from agitated German men who had the same basic complaint. They couldn’t trust a woman to give them directions. More
Go ahead, read the article. Then come back here.
What speaks to me in this piece is the significance of rapport, and the ease with which it can be created and broken–even with semi-animate objects. It makes me think: What about my book is generating rapport with my reader? What’s breaking rapport?
I’m using “rapport” in the sense that it is used in NLP–neurolingistic programming. Here’s one definition:
Rapport is the quality of harmony, recognition and mutual acceptance that exists between people when they are at ease with one another and where communication is occurring easily.
Why use this?
In general, we gravitate towards people that we consider similar to us, because people like people who are like themselves – like likes like. In rapport the common ground or similarities are emphasised and the differences are minimised.
Rapport is an essential basis for successful communication – if there is no rapport there is no (real) communication!
I’ve not seen writing teachers address rapport categorically. Maybe it’s time we do. What do you think?