For a moment, I was going to write “Where is it going?” But after a weekend of intensive interaction with 80+ bloggers at Blogger Social ’08, “Where are we going?” seemed far better.
Why? Because it’s not about a technology movement. It’s about people using technology to be…more complete people.
Now I freely confess that I am a big-picture strategy guy. An idea architect. I knew, however, when I started my own business almost 2 years ago, that I could only have a plan that was about 80% mapped out. The rest would simply have to evolve over time. I finally was OK with that; even excited by it. It’s liberating not to be bound to perfection.
As I started to heavily use LinkedIn, then began blogging, then began collaborating with other bloggers, then began meeting other bloggers and Twittering and exploring the new tools that bring the world closer together, my well-ordered manner of thinking continued to get rocked even more. The fact is, we’re making it up as we go along. There is no master plan here. We’re “grassrooting” this build-your-own-community thing and, to my surprise, it’s downright fun.
Like the other BS’08 attendees, Iooked forward with increasing excitement to the anticipated “preunion” of so many people that I had gotten to know (virtually) over the blogosphere. Some of us had collaborated extensively without ever meeting face-to-face. And for those of us who spend a joyous and near-sleepless weekend socializing, it was not a disappointment – this community of marketing bloggers is smart, creative, driven, kind, fun, and full of energy. Pretty geeky too, but there is a certain amount of charm seeing people Twitter each other on iPhones across the same table…
After it was over, I found myself – the strategist – thinking, “what’s the next step?” How do we build on this? But this is not something to be systematized. The best thing we can do is what we’ve been doing all along – creatively collaborate, care for those in need, welcome newcomers, share ideas, and enjoy each other’s company. The “message” of new/social/relationship-driven media will spread of its own, because we now have the tools to billboard ourselves, our ideas, our collaborations – on an open stage.
Some people won’t understand, not right away, but that’s all right. We don’t have to force it. This social media thing is in toddlerhood still. We’re just feeling our way around. And look what’s already happening!
So what will the future bring? This, to me, was the most stirring thought of the weekend. I am no prophet, nor the son of a prophet, but I foresee people helping people getting new jobs, launching new endeavors, making crucial connections, supporting those in need…it’s already happening. I see the blogging community providing a powerful safety net(work) and opportunity pool for many in a world of professional turmoil. I see a bunch of…us…going forward, not quite sure where, but forward, and as long we resist power trips and centralized command-and-control, we’ll do it as friends and colleagues learning and exploring together.
Where are we going? I don’t really know – but I’m sure enjoying the ride and the company!
Photo credit: Amanda Gravel, who is indeed the future with thought-provoking posts like this.
Pictures from Blogger Social: I’ve uploaded a bunch of pix on Flickr here. (Here’s the huge and growing group BS08 Flickr photo pool). Also, posts with some “bootleg” shots from Friday here and from Saturday here.