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May 26, 2006

Tribeless

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.

Posted by peterme at May 26, 2006 10:49 PM

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