|Bring your honey, bring a friend or come solo to the Computer History Museum on Valentine's Day. Join Usenet guru Erik Fair, virtual worlds pioneer and Yahoo! Community Strategist Randy Farmer, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, and Six Apart co-founder Mena Trott, together with top Wall Street Journal columnist Kara Swisher, to hear fascinating personal stories and perspectives about social computing: yesterday, today and tomorrow. Valentine's Day surprises will abound.|
This panel drew the biggest crowd I've seen at these events, as witnessed by the fact that the member's reception ran out of food 15 minutes before the talk.
I was met there by long-time friend Janice, whom I had met online via Usenet's ba.singles message board somewhere around 1989. She plays the singles dating scene more intensely than anyone I know - not just the computer boards but the print ones as well. Though these days most of the print ones are just teasers for something on the web.
The panel was interesting, but not nearly as interesting as it could have been. There were no representatives from match.com or any of the online dating services - I find it hard to believe they could think to do a panel on "social computing" without that. There was a link to LJ - Mena Trott and her husband now own LJ. But most of her talk centered around Movable Type. She did tell an interesting tale about how she went from World Famous Blogger to friends-locked. Apparently she doesn't want her mother to know all her secrets. Check it out: menatrott - the photo there is probably 5 years old.
One surprise was what sounded to me like "Lincoln" but turned out to be LinkedIn - I had never heard of it, but when the moderator asked the audience who had an account there, a couple of hundred hands went up. Hoffman was pretty deadpan, and was wearing his mike too far from his face, and he was obviously uncomfortable being among technologists, so I wasn't too jazzed to visit the site. I did sign up for an account last night, and when I had it match my business contacts list with existing members, I saw that all the people I wouldn't want to be associated with in real life were members. Headhunters, my COO, marketing dweebs, etc. It's allegedly a business networking portal.
At Q&A time, I discovered I was sitting right behind the legendary Brad Templeton. Brad pretty much founded Usenet's humor board, and for a long time he moderated rec.humor.funny. He passed that on in the mid-90's, and IMHO, it's not as funny anymore.
The museum has a couple of interesting exhibits, but the talks are what prompted me to become a member. Check out their web site, some of their exhibits are only online.