I recently discovered a great link in my design feeds, pointing me to the site I Love Typography, which is well on its way to becoming a great resource for designers and all those with an interest in type The most recent post, Who Shot the Serif?, is a tremendous introduction to the terminology used to describe serif fonts and makes any typographic discussion a bit more accessible to those without formal education in the field. Add a pinch of humor, and you’ve got a rocking article! Check it out, even if you aren’t a designer, you’ll learn something interesting for the day.
Archives for August 2007
Generalists can excel at both defining and solving problems but may require the assistance of specialists as they go deeper into execution. Specialists can excel in defining the problem especially when it falls within their area of expertise.
There are just under 700 panels submitted for the 2008 schedule of South by Southwest Interactive. One of them happens to be mine. If you know me, or follow this site on a regular basis, then you are aware how involved I am with Refresh Austin, and the passion with which I participate in its happenings. My latest series of articles (Parts One & Two) speak to the topic I submitted – how to harness the power of online social networks to create, expand and maintain groups in the physical world, and how to use the physical world to improve upon your social networks.
I think this is an important topic, and I would really love the opportunity to spread what I’ve learned and share ideas with others in a panel as well as at the social events that make up SXSWi. If you have a couple of minutes, please rate my panel. You will likely need to sign up for the Panel Picker, even if you’ve attended in years past, but it’s a very quick process.
My Panel: Meat-space: A Plugin for Social Software
As I noted in Part One of this series, it is important to have regular meeting times. These formal gatherings ensure that people can plan ahead and raises anticipation and participation. Informal meetups on the other hand, add a spontaneous element and ensure that people form stronger bonds within the group or capitalize on exciting events. I’ve made some great friends by sending out a note to the group, or joining others who have sent an invite to a group to meet for beer and conversations.
When to Have an Informal Meetup
Whenever! It’s as simple as kicking out a note via e-mail, IM, Twitter or the like. Let people know where you’ll be at a specific time, and how they can find you (“I’m wearing a red cap and blue t-shirt”). Different members of Refresh Austin do this every so often, sometimes with a few days of planning, but often at the spur of the moment. The important thing is to throw out an invite. If no one comes, so be it – but odds are good that people want to join you, so if they can’t make it out for this one, they’ll try next time.
What to Discuss
It doesn’t matter. A gathering of like-minded folks will lean towards discussing their shared-interests, but they don’t have to cover the same topics. When I gather with other Web geeks, we cover everything from programming, to cooking, to music to politics. The important part is that we are socializing and having fun.
If you have a specific thing you want to talk about, include that in your note so others know what to expect. This will also give you a great conversation-starter.
Where to Meet
It really doesn’t matter, though if you have a specific topic, or you want to get to know the other folks, I’d recommend a pub, coffee shop, restaurant or the like. Somewhere that encourages conversation. Beer and/or caffeine help. A lot.
How to Kick this Off
Make sure everyone in your group knows that they can be the originator of an invite – the point is to share the opportunity and let the group form strong bonds outside of the formal meetings. You may need to do the inviting the first few times, but you’ll find others will step up as well.
If you already have some friends in the group, encourage them to do the same, or if need be, arrange to meet your friend(s) and ask them to send the invite instead of you. That way others will see that you aren’t the only one. If you are going to meet up with someone who has sent an invite via an e-mail list, respond to the list, so others see the participation. Plus the person behind the invite will have a rough idea of how many to expect and won’t wonder if anyone will show up.
A Quick Template
Here are the things to remember in your invite:
- Where to meet – an address and/or URL are important!
- When you’ll arrive
- How people will recognize you
- What you want to discuss, if you have a specific topic in mind
That’s all you need to know – it’s time to kick out an e-mail to your group and make use of the great network of people you know!
PPK has written Getting rid of the semi-professionals, another thoughtful post about our industry that is a must-read for any Web Development professional. If, after reading the piece you are a bit angry, take a minute to think about why – are you pissed because you feel he is being unfair to standards-activists or because his frustrations match yours?
Serious professionals, as well as those web developers aspiring to become true professionals, will start to pay less and less attention to blog comments, mailing list and forums, because these public spaces of the web standards movement are infested by semi-professionals. Professionals do pay attention to serious blog postings or articles, but writing those is outside the semi-professionals’ mental horizon.
For the record, I’m in 100% agreement with him, having grown tired of the repeated arguments with extreme standardistas.
I have become more and more practical over the last several years. While I wish I could pin it on a single event, or set of events, I don’t think it’s that simple. So, I sit here and try to plan ways to not be so boxed-in by the “right” decisions, when I should really try to go with the fun decisions, at least once in a while. Yeah, I said “plan” – pretty damned practical ain’t it?
The question is – how realistic is it to be impractical in your early 30s? Seriously, we all like having money so we feel secure and can play, but how does a person balance the having with the day-to-day earning, which can drain the energy needed for the fun stuff? The old Nike tag line of “just do it” is great and all, but doesn’t seem realistic when there’s bills to pay, and so little time after putting in a day at the office. How does one take advantage of, and extend those short moments of energy?
Something to ponder. Comments welcome.