Most likely because I’m heading to Boston this weekend for PodCamp Boston (5!) – and PodCamp Philly the weekend after – but I’m finding myself caught up in daydreaming memories of old friends. Not old friends as in “I don’t talk to them any longer” but old friends that have stayed in the circle and grown limbs and branches and roots. My life took a hockey stick turn upward in 2004 when I ‘found’ podcasting, and over six years later that community still inspires me even if we have grown and spread out.
Any amount of digging online will show that I’ve been involved in online ‘new media’ communities in full force since 1996 – even farther back if you count crazy dial up modem BBS, IRQ channels, and Lord help me – Prodigy and CompuServe groups. Podcasting – even above blogging – holds a sweet spot in my heart as (even if I don’t normally like to admit it) I was an integral part in its formation. I vividly remember a time where podcasting and new media and ‘radio on the Internet’ was not just unknown, but really rebellious. We felt like pirate radio broadcasters, and when we found another podcaster or ‘podsafe musician’ we brought them into the fold and promoted the hell out of them. It was our secret society. We created our own celebrities. Above all else, we looked out for each other, helped each other and learned from each other. We were our own fans and our own support system. Geeks were just coming into fashion and we relished the idea of becoming bigger and greater than anything that had come before.
We succeeded. Maybe too much. [Read more…]