On the plane and 41,000 feet over the plain right now, quickly sneaking away
from the receding sun, contemplating the curvature of the earth, and smelling
the oranges that my next-row neighbors are peeling. Reflecting on how
fortunate I am to be part of such an amazing creative network. I've
devoted the past few years to weaving myself among the people who are
pushing the net forward, translating needs into tools. I've spent lots
of time and energy "on social duty", listening, reaching out, and
trying hard to connect the unconnected, sometimes successfully, other
times less so.
While I've enjoyed doing this and intend to go on with it, at present I
feel like it may be time to shift gears. The network I am part of has
grown, and it is a lot less sparse than it was when I started out. I'm
feeling I should now step back a little, and figure out what my unique
contribution will be in the area of ideas.
I've blogged quite a few ideas thus far, but they were those I felt
were the most ripe for the taking: topic sharing, structured blogging, social
filtering for instance.
I have a handful of deeper ideas that have been sitting in my backpack for a
long time and that need to be given a chance to blossom. The last thing
I want, however, is to be a lone nut working my ideas out in a vacuum,
which is an easy trap to fall into. I need to engage with other people,
to listen and talk, both to shape the ideas, connect them to others' visions, and to help them spread out.
I believe it's about intellectual entrepreneurship, really. When you
stop to think about it, not so many people are listening closely. Some
of the most promising innovations are challenging and won't go very far
just by virtue of their intrinsic strength. They need proselytes to
make their way into widespread acceptance. They need to be articulated
clearly, and presented from different angles. Their significance has to
be explained in different ways to different people. It's challenging
work, but my feeling is that too few people are doing it. I think this
is a role I want to take on at this point.
I met again with the one and only Marc "Digital Lifestyle" Canter, who got a chance to compare
notes and discuss at length with my colleague Stephen "RSS_LOM" Downes.
They are thinking along very similar lines about the development of Web
2.0. It would be great if they could effectively join forces.