A brief history of a community in one corner of the Tri-Cities

Fuse, the Tri-Cities’ community and business accelerator, is beginning a project to publish the history of our local community of founders, professionals, makers, developers, and designers.

For my section, I was asked to describe the beginnings of Doctype Society and TriConf, two components I was involved in which contributed to the development and growth of this community. Note that this is incomplete and solely from my perspective, and I am really looking forward to reading others’ accounts.

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Internet cafés

The Internet was a town.

Then it became a city, then a nation, then continents, then hemispheres.

Without centralized search tools, early communities were only discovered organically, like neighborhood cafés.

Businesses eager to multiply their reach and revenue logically rushed to create communities that spanned cities, nations, hemispheres. Maximum reach, lowest common denominator, unintended consequences bubbling up everywhere.

Corporate social networks have created the world’s most unsafe and heartless cities in the same place we’re building our future.

Even whittled down to “your” people, corporate social networks have scant authentic meaning—like the generic Applebee’s and Chili’s that dot our disconnected suburbias. Deliver a product accessible by the masses, stamped out in uniform.

But humans can’t string together a series cloned containers and call that community.

The Human Internet needs more neighborhood cafés. Quiet corners. Safe places. A healthy mix of strangers, acquaintances, and old friends.

Who’s creating these today?

How can we build more?

What should they look like?

Hermit 2.0

Individual, one-to-one connections are what I want out of and what I want to put into a community.

That's the only real value I can give and it's the only value I seek.

I'm not a community leader.

I'm an individual person going somewhere. And I'm doing the best I can to learn and grow and be true to myself along the way.

There are a few people who will travel with me.

And for me that is enough.

The new album

I've been thinking about what it was about NodeConf that had me a little anxious going into it.

Was it my fear of looking like an amateur developer? Not really. Was it worrying about camping with two small children? Nope. (They did great!) And it wasn't even about the fact that conferences are socially overstimulating for me. (That's a guarantee for my introverted self.)

Then I identified the feeling: It was a tiny fear that maybe I had too high of expectations.

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