The thing about traveling a lot is that friends cease to believe in your existence. In the 1990s, I would meet someone in the street in Toronto (then my home town) and they would say, "Hey! Grant! What are you doing here?"
It’s no good saying, "I live here," because your friends have hard empirical evidence that this is not true. They haven’t seen you in a month or so. They haven’t seen anyone who’s seen you.
Networks take renewal. And the node that’s you on the net…it stopped blinking some time ago. The vibrations that eddy back and forth are now quiet.
Your friends can see you standing there before them, but they prize their network intelligence more surely than the evidence of their senses. Their eyes might deceive them. The hum of the network, never!
Saved by technology. Now, Dopplr gives us a way to keep track of one another on line. If you give me permission, I can see the map that describes your movements for the next 30 days or so. If we are going to be in London at Russell Davies’ Interesting2007 in June, it will tell me so.
So far, Dopplr maps show only one person on the map at once. But eventually, when capacity ramps up, the Dopplr map will show me everyone in my network, all those people engaged in all those projects skipping about the globe, color coordinated for easier management.
And yes, it will make a difference to those face-to-face encounters in the streets of my home town. I will see "Richard" standing there before me, but unless I have been tracking him on line, he will be a pale and ghostly presence, the poor man who exists only in the real time and space.
There are lots of social networking plays out there at the moment: Twitter, Jaiku, LinkedIn, to name a few. I believe that the first one to create a really good "cloud" that gives us a way visually to monitor and manage our connection wins. Advantage, Dopplr.
Dopplr is pretty new and it is for the moment a "by invitation" network only. But hey, you’ve got to someone who belongs. Use your network. (Hillary is right: It takes a network to build a network.)
Thanks to Pip Coburn and Jerry Michalski for the head’s up.