Posting will be light
Posting will be light for the next week because it will be hard to write anything worthwhile on the road, which is funny because road trips generate the kind of experience that stays with you forever and yet which you may forever be at a loss to convey. But the strangest thing about the meetings, dinners and parties surrounding the Open Source Media launch was its twisted sense of deja vu; people were meeting for the first time who had known each other for years. Tigerhawk remarked on the uncanniness of the experience as people stepped up and introduced themselves by their screen names. The faces and physiques, the ages and the backgrounds were often unexpected; but in a surprisingly high percentage of the time, the person you saw was exactly who you'd thought you'd meet.
The launch generated a surprising amount of commentary on the blogosphere, so much that at midnight EST it led the top of Technorati's charts at 740 posts. Commentary naturally focused on people; what they said and did; their agendas; their foibles. Yet I suspect that in the long view the most important thing about the event was that it was not a meeting so much as a reunion. And the process that made an inversion of the natural sequence of acquaintance possible is the real story.
It was bloggers from the smaller sites that brought the point home to me. One man was a commercial artist who had for years drawn illustrations for others and who had decided, one sunny day, to start illustrating for himself. Yet another described the need to write in order to make sense of the world and of his own life. In another age these attempts would have been fool's errands. But the Road, the real Road, the Internet has meant they had a chance to carve out their niche and do what they did best.
I'm personally convinced that each person is worth listening to; perhaps not across the board but at least in that one thing in which he or she is the world's greatest expert. It occurred to me as the elevator doors closed, zonked out by the 21 hour flight and the whirl of events, that I might have accidentally attended the blogger's Woodstock. Then I realized that such a thing was impossible: by a strange and almost mystical process, we had all already gone.