I got to hang out with people I know mainly through the Twitterverse, which was really great. When I was there last October for Arse Elektronika (an entry I have yet to post, come to think of it) I had the pleasure of not only meeting some of the people from Monochrom, (who are Austrian) but also some people who are part of the arts/culture/tech scene in SF, including Richard Kadrey and Aaron Muszalski, better known to many as sfslim. This time when I went back, I was lucky enough to meet up with Aaron again at the LaughingSquid Unholiday Party II. This was a great party. Good music, cool space, ample, good, food and drinks. Best of all, good conversation.
I talked for quite awhile with Jonathan Foote, Neil Girling, and Abie Hadjitarkhani and it was breath of fresh air to speak with people to whom I didn’t have to justify and interest in tech, media, culture, whatever. Also, all dripping smarts and talent (look at their sites if you don’t believe me). I was listening to a livestream of Howard Rheingold speaking this morning and one point he made about social media is that it allows not just like-minded people to connect–there are obvious pros and cons to that. But, it allows people who like to create and share and cooperate to connect, which immediately gives all of them more leverage to do whatever it is they want to do. This was really clear to me at the party. From what I could tell, many people there had met online or stayed connected and coordinated online, most of them were “makers” and having connected, many work together on all kinds of projects. I’m not sure how far that extends into their professional lives, but certainly all kinds of fun activities are organized with help from these applications.
So anyway, eventually I finally actually started talking to Aaron and that was one of the best conversations I’ve had in ages–lasted from probably midnight or so till around 4am. With all of these people, I think everything that does not fit into 140 character tweets just overflowed. In fact being able to talk in this extended focused way felt like a luxury, even decadent. I think this is an upside of the fragmented and distracted nature of communication on the network.
Aaron and I ended up hanging out a bit more the next evening; Chris brought the grrrls in to see the new Academy of Sciences and then we had dinner with friends from gradschool that were in for MLA–again peopel I almost only get to talk with online now–and then Aaron met up with us toward the end. He had really wanted to meet the grrrls; unfortunately by then they were really tired and clingy (both are just a bit over 5) so it wasn’t the best time for them. Then I saw them all off and talked to Aaron some more. Of course with some people you just feel like the conversation could go on forever, but Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other applications like that encourage this feeling, maybe because you get the moment by moment flow and it’s easy to pick up some little crumb that becomes another possible conversational trail to follow.
I think conversational threads are going to be a big thing soon–just came across Tweetree which shows threaded conversations on Twitter; it’s interesting, but would be better if it really looked like a tree. Now I’m thinking about personal archives, in part because I’m trying to get an abstract together, and in part because so many people, especial technophiles, are accumulating them online. Not just those they create, but those created through Google searches, on technorati, on del.icio.us, etc. So there it is. Now I have to finish cleaning the house for a party.