Socialtext, and ongoing Wiki Wednesdays

I haven’t been posting here very often as my medical and disability issues got kind of intense. I went on short-term disability for a couple of months, and am going to stop working full time for a little while. While I’m leaving my job at Socialtext, I’m going to continue contracting for them on an occasional basis.

Working at Socialtext was an intense experience, less like drinking from the firehose and more like being blasted by a giant non stop river of information and communication. It was very interesting “ambient work.” I hung out with my co-workers on many wikis, on chat, irc, over email, and sometimes in person.

Tony Bowden, Casey West, and Dan Bricklin worked with me on an open source release of Socialcalc and on planning its possibilities, as well as working on open source licensing and legal issues. I was on call any time for Ingy döt Net to test his wiki hacks and help him debug, and Perl goddess Kirsten Jones was always around to help me with my questions. I got to hang out in Socialtext’s co-working space and have some great conversations with Adina Levin and Pete Kaminski, and especially appreciated Adina’s willingness to listen and to take time to act as a mentor. Chris Dent wrote so much great & thoughtful wiki theory and thoughts on software development; I just wish I had gotten to pair with him on a project, but maybe sometime in the future. It was great working with Jon Prettyman, Chris McMahon, Shawn Scantland, and Ken Pier on new releases, and any time I got to work with or hang out with Lyssa Kaehler, Zac Bir, Melissa Ness, or Brandon Noard it was a pleasure. Probably the nicest part of working at Socialtext, I mean besides the decadent hot tub parties, was getting to team up with Luke Closs, whose super clear explanations and agile coaching totally rocked my world. Seriously, I can’t say enough good things about the engineering, support, and QA crew at Socialtext.

Then, I think of how Socialtext basically paid me to spend time helping with things like BarCampBlock and Wiki Wednesday. The Wiki Wednesdays were especially lovely. It was kind of funny, because all the literary readings I have run in the past turn out the same way; an eclectic crowd of people who don’t know each other and wouldn’t otherwise have met, kicking around ideas in a laid back atmosphere — rather than big events that are lecture-style. I also really like to find interesting people who are not the usual suspects; who are total rock stars but in a small niche that is not visible to people who are rock stars in other niches. Anyway, it was through Wiki Wednesday (and sometimes through random co-working arrangements) that I met fun and inspiring people like Eugene Eric Kim, Jack Herrick, Eszter Hargittai, Bryan Pendleton, Betsy Megas, and Philip Neustrom.

Wiki Wednesday is continuing, run once again by Socialtext’s social media visionary Ross Mayfield. I hope that a good crowd of people from different wiki communities, platforms, and companies will flock to the event. Other local wiki events coming up: the Freebase User Group run by Kirrily Robert at Metaweb, which just happened, but another one is coming up in April. And then, a fantastic-sounding wiki event I haven’t been to yet, Recent Changes Camp, which will happen May 9-11 in Palo Alto, and which I hope will be as good as the past ones in Portland and Montreal.

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