I'm just checking out of a hotel room in Bellevue, Washington, where I've been for the past three days attending a small conference on social software hosted by Microsoft Research. Lots of great ideas floating around, ably blogged by others. For me, one of the most rewarding parts of an event like this is that it reminds me of the strange intimacy of the blogroll. I got to spend some time with a few people -- David Weinberger, and Joichi Ito in particular -- whose blogs I've long followed, but who I've never met in person before. It's been said many times already, but there's something extraordinary in these kinds of face-to-face encounters, because you really do know these people through their blogs: you know all these stray tidbits about their lives, you know their obsessions, and something about their voice. And so when you meet them, you're already halfway into a great friendship. You've only been in the same room together for a few hours, but you feel like they're practically old college buddies.
The other thing that pleased me to no end came out of a conversation with my old friends Linda Stone and Clay Shirky. Some of you may remember that Wired prominently featured both of them in a story they did on the tech world's "connectors": the people who know everyone, and who are inevitably responsible for figuring out exactly who you need to talk to and making the introductions. Now, I had completely forgotten this, but Linda reminded me that I had originally introduced Clay and Linda, back in the FEED days when Clay was writing his wonderful pieces for us, and Linda was still at Microsoft. Who connects the connectors, you ask? That would be me.