Something sunk in a couple of weekends as I attended DCamp. I am without a professional tribe. This realization has grown as I attend various industry events. I’m just not really grooving with the crowds I’m part of.
DCamp was definitely a pleasant experience, and I enjoyed the chats I had, but I had to admit to myself that the subjects being discussed weren’t all that compelling to me. It felt… quotidian.
The week before, I attended a dinner meant to help generate buzz and ideas for the forthcoming Web 2.0 conference. I had very little interest in schmoozing there, and really kept to the few people I already knew. I think it was all the men in sportcoats that turned me off.
Not too long ago, I was very much engaged with many communities. I was active with AIGA and SIGCHI and ASIST; I was attended events on design and information architecture and web stuff. Now, I find myself on the periphery of a lot of groups, but none of them feel like a home for me:
– design (say, AIGA style)
– interaction design (IxDA, etc.)
– business and design (IDSC, Gain, the Overlap)
– “design thinking” (similar to above)
– web design (Webvisions and the like)
– Web 2.0/social software/social media
– “anthrodesign” (design + anthropology/ethnography)
About as close to a tribe as I get is information architects. The IA Summit continues to be my favorite event year in and year out. But I noticed that even there, this year, I wasn’t as engaged in the material as I had been in prior years. I love the people, but the subject matter remains stuck.
We’ll see how this all proceeds. In some ways, it saddens me, because I feel out of place. In other ways, it’s exciting, because it suggests opportunities for creating new groups, new connections, new communities with people who share my slice of professional interests.