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All your base are belong to us.

The year was nineteen ninety something.  A strapping young chap entered the world of technology.  With overpromises from tech leads, undertrained programmers, and caffeine, there was nothing we couldn’t conquer. 

Or something like that.

I’ve pretty much been in technology all my “professional” life…save it being a small sting of leadership consulting right out of college that a totaled car at Duquesne solved that decision for me….but that’s another story.  I’ve grown up around programming, I’ve programmed like the worst of them and I am a better person for ‘thinking aloud’ and learning what others are doing to make me better.

Over the past 2 years I, like many of you, have entered in the world of what seems to be called “social media” or “new media.”  No, I’m not about to claim I’m one of them (warning may be NSFW with language).  But I will say I’m a user, dare I say a power user.  I didn’t get on the MySpace train because at the time I just didn’t get it and it didn’t look tailored for me.  I gave up my Geocities account long ago and didn’t feel the need to start a new one with MySpace :-).  I joke, as I know it is valuable for some social circles, just not mine…some pages make my eyes bleed.

Enter Facebook.  I list my LinkedIn account in my contact information, but I’ll be honest with you – I don’t use it.  I also stopped using Plaxo as a result of company IT restraints.  So apologies to all you Plaxo Pulse invitations…I’m not responding to them.  All of these networks seem to share the currency of “friends” in their taxonomy.  It got out of control fast on Facebook for me with tons (well relatively speaking of course) started sending friend requests.  Are these really my friends? I had to ask myself this.  But being the people-pleaser I think I am and not wanting to offend most I just started accepting them all.  Thus, my Facebook friends have gotten out of control.

Enter Twitter.  This gave us all an outlet to strip down to “status” updates.  I signed up immediately and thought it was lame.  What possible use could this be for me?  Of course I was wrong and it has been the single-most useful social tool I leverage.  I use it daily and treat it just like what I think it is – a conversation I can enter/leave/comment on at any time.  There is a friend (follower) concept, but it is easier to deal with because people can choose to follow me if I’m public (more on that later).  And I can choose who I want to follow and there doesn’t have to be a mutual connection of permission between the two.  I like that.

Enter my wife.  She’s a wonderful woman.  She’s super smart and super talented.  For years she’s made fun of my geekiness.  For a while I was McGeeky to her friends.  She would mock me in her speak (she still does sometimes).  But then something changed.  A genuine interest in certain things.  It started with her retiring from her job.  She still wanted to be connected, so got a laptop.  I introduced her to GMail.  Later she started asking what’s this blog stuff?  Soon enough she started a blog – more for journaling our family life and her perspective on it with parenting, etc.  Her blogging has exploded.  She has more posts than me combined over the 6 years I’ve been blogging.  It’s frightening and fun at the same time.  I love to see her spunky personality come through in her writing.  Then came Facebook.  Then came Twitter.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  We were on date night and started talking about all this stuff.  It was a surreal moment that my wife would actually want to talk about tech stuff.  You see, she has become a power Twitter user among her friends.  Her Blackberry probably sparked a lot of this with text messaging with her friends and now she also uses Twitter via her mobile!  She signed up, they signed up and she’s really using it a lot.  For now for just fun stuff, but I see her use grow more…as does her followers.  She even took a web seminar about how to use Twitter effectively.  In this conversation she asked me what’s the point for Facebook if I have Twitter?  Good question.  It was good timing as well because on that day Seesmic released their Facebook desktop application which did one thing – essentially boil Facebook down to a status stream.  As we talked about this I realized that my use of Facebook was tiny.  Beyond looking at a friend you hadn’t seen in a while and then checking out their pictures, my use boiled down to the status stream.  It was an interesting conversation we had that night.  And weird.

Since then my wife has been opening my eyes to some things.  I kept seeing these tweets of I’ve listed myself in localtweeps.com under zip code XXXX.  So me being part of the nerd sheep, I added myself.  Then I got a lesson in privacy from my wife.  She convinced me in less than a minute that wasn’t a good idea.  Again, we had a good conversation about it.  She even pointed out that people who block their Twitter stream but post it to Facebook via the linking, aren’t really blocking anything.  I actually didn’t even make the obvious connection.

Now within the past week she’s asked me about tools and I believe she started using Twhirl.  Her latest tweet had a TwitPic URL in it. 

WHAT HAVE I CREATED!?

Seriously it is fun and bazaar at the same time.  I love to see my wife blogging, twittering, and bringing technology into her life.  Some of it concerns me, but I can’t judge…my thoughts are pretty much an open book on the web.  So why am I writing all this and wasting precious whitespace on the interwebs?  Who knows…but just thoughts I had as my worlds have converged a bit.  It reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine contemplate inviting George’s girlfriend on an outing.  Kramer points out:

Jerry, don't you see? This world here, this is George's sanctuary. If Susan comes into contact with this world, his worlds collide. You know what happens then? (Kramer raises his hands into the air and slowly brings them together in an explosion.) – from “The Pool Guy” episode

It’s like Relationship George and Independent George.  Except for me it is Husband Tim and Geek Tim.  Worlds colliding my friend, worlds colliding.

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Two great events are happening here in the Valley of the Sun (yes, it’s still 105°F outside here folks) are coming up soon that you should consider taking part in.

Startup Weekend Phoenix

Startup Weekend is a weekend long event (starting on Friday at about 6pm and ending on Sunday at 6pm) where local techies, entrepreneurs, project managers, or interested people of all types gather in teams to actually create companies that could be viable in today’s marketplace.  This isn’t just vapor, past Startup Weekends have actually gotten to the point of initial prototypes, branding, marketing strategies within this weekend.  The goal is to gather the local community brains, have fun, and innovate.  It sounds like a really, really great time.

The event is not a free event, but only costs $39.99 and the funds are going only to directly support the event…the intention is not to ‘make money’ off these registration fees, but cover the costs beyond the sponsors have provided.  This event is not organized by one individual, one organization and there are no hidden agendas by any sponsors.  Local entrepreneurs and community folks are arranging this and excited to try to ignite the innovation in the Phoenix area and come up with something great!

Register hereInfo here.  October 17-19, 2008.

PodcampAZ 2008

I went to this event last year and it was full of energy!  Organized by some great folks, namely Brent Spore, this is the place to be in November if you are involved locally in social media.  The speaker line up is looking fun and Chris Pirillo and iJustine will be in attendance. This event is free and if you are available that weekend you should definitely go to see what is happening in social media in our area.

The event is two days, held at the UAT campus in Tempe/Phoenix (I can never tell exactly where that is located, but it’s close enough to Ted’s BBQ that I call it Tempe).  Come out and join the fun.

Info here.  No registration required.  Only fun is required.  Last year shirts were available with a “This one time, at Podcamp” theme – I can only imagine something equally as sarcastic will be made this year.

It’s fun to see things like this happening in Phoenix.  Let’s get everyone to show up and support our technical communities!