Michael Coghlan posted to Webheads, “I know I haven’t been there for ages but I just went to Tapped In for the regular weekly chat and for the first time in about 10 years NO ONE WAS THERE!!! I’m not complaining, but I’m just amazed that this is possible! I nearly fell off my chair. Has the world ended? Maybe everyone’s meeting somewhere else…..”
As can be seen from the threaded posts linked from the above URL, this prompted responses from others who had dropped in and left because no one was there at the moment. One person pointed out that I had been on vacation at the time, so while the cat herder was away the mice played elsewhere 🙂 and still others sent in their interesting excuses (one webhead was playing scrabble with her landlady – you know who you are ;-))
I replied as follows:
Webheads have been meeting at noon GMT each Sunday since 1998, over 11 years now. It’s good to hear that people dropped by this last Sunday, even if they didn’t hook up, at least we have a record that they were there, and there’s likelihood there will be people on hand this Sunday, and the one after, etc.
Dennis Newson [one of those who sent excuses] does pop by now and then, as does Michael [Coghlan, who started the thread], plus a few regulars whom I hesitate to mention for fear of omission. We also get a lot of drop-ins, some return and others don’t, but I think the charm of the event is when people we haven’t seen in a long while pop by just to say hello.
It could be that there are better times to meet for some, but of course there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to scheduling worldwide events. Of course anyone is welcome to organize other times, but there are so many factors. One is the venue itself. Tapped In is not the most robust meeting point these days, but we often migrate elsewhere as circumstances dictate, second life, wiziq, elluminate, wherever people are in the mood to go.
Some such gatherings seek to stage an event at each meeting, and we do that sometimes, possibly not often enough. Of course, anyone is welcome to stage an event, and we’ve recently had Speed Geeking, and Speed Lifing events: http://advanceducation.blogspot.com/2009/06/speedlifing.html
. You might notice that gatherings where there is obligation to produce a set-piece week after week have short shelf-life, useful when they happen, but difficult to sustain.
The weekly TI event is a simple proof of concept. It’s patterned on the pub or country club model. It’s not a business meeting or professional gathering where you are challenged to be at your best each week. You can drop in if you feel like it and it’s unusual that you’ll find no one there. There’s no obligation to attend but you’re welcome when you walk in. What goes on at these gathererings? We’ve often been asked and are as often at a loss to answer. I guess in a word: LEARNING. Other words come to mind: networking, small-talk, bonding, sharing, demonstrating.
I’ve often said that anything that requires the presence of any individual in order for it function is probably not worth doing in the long run. The true test of an endeavor is if it endures when a given individual withdraws for whatever reason. I personally find Webheads too stimulating to want to withdraw any time soon, but I’d like to think that the group would carry on if any one person left, because it’s an integral part of other people’s lives, independent of any one person.
So hope to see you this coming Sunday, noon GMT, in the usual place http://tappedin.org
, if you’re awake, free, so inclined. And if not this Sunday or even this year, then some time soon.