It’s all about the people!

My friend Mike’s been to Melbourne and made good connections.

In a post titled CONNECTING to people behind the BLOGs he says:

This was my first experience of meeting people I’ve been ‘reading’ (connected to via RSS). It was really quite empowering! I think I understand why people do, and write about ‘geek dinners’ and ‘blog conferences’. There really are people behind those blogs, and like all human beings we need to be connected.

Empowering it is! This was part of what was behind and drove projects like Common Ground and EnableNet, where I work. Back in 1992 when we got CG going there were people asking questions concerned about users getting stuck behind their computers and not having any social interaction. After not long we saw the opposite. The users started forming their own social groups and had at least once yearly huge get together of all who wanted to join. At its peak they used to cram 32lines for 6-10hours every night, causing others to have to wait for someone to get off so they could connect. It had other thins going for it. It was pretty locale-specific so there wasn’t the tyranny of distance to travel. Also, many of the users were already socially isolated to differing degrees due to mostly socio-economic reasons or disability. For some it was their only form of communication. But given the tool to do so, they went about connecting in many different ways, often resulting in meeting physically.

The Internet and the nature of it changed things a lot. As I lamented a bit about neo-community in a previous post called ‘long time passing‘ – where have all the people gone?

Doing community that connects people physically is a lot different than the BBS days. Most particularly due to the Internet’s geographic reach. And to a degree it’s changed the form of my work’s online presence. But the drive for people to connect is still there. The technology hasn’t really changed who we are basically, when we strip off all the layers.

Technology should always be about the people and for the people. Sure, we can have fun and get excited about it along the way but in the end it’s not about the things, it’s about what the things give to the people – to steal a line from lifekludger – ‘connect people to things and people to people‘.

Love people, use things!
… Not vice versa.


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