Expanding Your Global Neighborhood (and Finally Meeting Some of Them Face to Face)

I remember when I got into the World Wide Web for the first time.  I was just a boy in mid-Michigan sitting in front of a computer with my dad.  The world seemed very large and incredibly inaccessible.  That was all about to change.

With the Web, information and people become infinitely more accessible. You get to meet people on the other side of the state, the other side of the country, or even the other side of the world who have common interests to you.    Before my friends would have been restricted by who I lived geographically near.  With the Web, this all changed very dramatically.

A few years ago, Shel Israel to me was just a guy who I admired, co-authored a book about blogging, and lived on the other side of the country. Because of the Web and specifically our blogs, we were able to connect and I now consider Shel to be an old friend.  He’s become what he likes to call part of my “global neighborhood.”

I could have never imagined that I would have had the opportunity to get to know and become friends with Shel but that’s the power of the Web.  It has the ability to allow to people from different backgrounds, ages, and parts of the world who have a similar interests or passion to get to know one another, form a conversation, and start a friendship. It’s sooo cool.

Today, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Shel in person at the Social Media in Government conference that was being held in Washington DC.   It was a blast.  If Shel didn’t have a plane to catch, i’m confident the conversation could have gone on for most of the day.

At the conference, I also had the pleasure today of meeting Kyle Hansen.  He wrote a blog post a while back which made a lot of people’s attention, including Shel’s.  He said “to my future boss: please let me blog.”  Kyle is an outstanding example of the revolution that is taking place with how people communicate.  He’s also very bright.

Someone in Washington DC, please hire Kyle.  We want him on this coast (he goes to school in Calif but is at an internship in DC).

I’m proud to say that Kyle is now a part of my global neighborhood.

The Web is and will change your life.  It will give you the opportunity to connect and meet truly amazing people.

Who have you met or been able to connect with via the Web?

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Launch of the OLPC Learning Club in Washington, DC

One Laptop per Child (OLPC) enthusiast and founder of OLPC News Wayan Vota has started a new venture, OLPC Learning Club – Washington, DC.  It’s a grassroots organization with the mission of allowing people within the same geographic area to get together to discuss, develop for, and learn more about the use of the OLPC XO laptop.

This first meeting of the OLPC Learning Club is happening this month in Washington DC at the Wonderland Ballroom in the Columbia Heights neighborhood around 7pm on December 18th.  If you’re a fan of the little green machine, you should definitely be there.  I will be.

In December, Mobile Monday DC Gives Intro to WiMax

Mobile Monday DC is a group within the Washington DC tech community who doesn’t get talked about as much but has been putting on some great talk about what’s happening in the mobile industry.

This month Mobile Monday DC is giving a WiMax 101 talk, which I’m sure will prove to be informative.  The meeting is December 10th at 6pm at the Teqcorner in McLean, VA.

Being a carless Washingtonian, I’m not sure whether i’ll be able to make it out there.   If you live out in that area, you should go.  I know you’ll have fun and you’ll probably learn something.

Designer Cindy Li Joins Washington DC Design Firm nclud

There was a rush of excitement this morning over the Washington DC tech community when it was announced that talented designer Cindy Li will be joining the crazy talented Washington DC-based design firm nclud. She’ll be a senior consultant and partner. Congrats to Cindy and the nclud boys.

Zipcar has a Great Mobile Web Site!

Zipcar Mobile Web site Screenshot

While the mobile Web in the USA has a long way to come, there are some shining examples of what it can be. Car sharing and hourly rental service Zipcar has one of the best mobile Web site’s I’ve seen.

My whole family was in town last weekend. We were out and about and thought it might be fun to get a Zipcar to do some more shopping. The thing is… I wasn’t near my computer or my apartment for that matter. All I had was my mobile phone.

I typed “zipcar.com” into Pocket Internet Explorer on my Samsung Blackjack. It auto-detected that I was surfing from my mobile phone and gave me the mobile Web site. I was quickly able to see if there was or wasn’t any cars available. It was so handy. It was quick and easy.

Not only is it useful but it makes me more happy with Zipcar as a company.  It makes me think they understand me as a customer.  They understand that we live mobile lives.  We don’t just need a car when we’re at home and in front of our computers.

If you plug Zipcar’s mobile Web site into dotMobi’s evaluation tool ready.mobi , you can see that Zipcar has followed industry standards. It scored a 5 out of 5.

This is the kind of site that is going to people in the USA excited about the mobile Web.