The ‘We’ in Web

Simon, Jon, Milly and Chris

After the suggestion of Simon Jobling, yesterday saw the formation of a local community of web-developers, similar to others such as the BritPack, HappyClog, NEWD etc. Whilst the turnout was quite small, it felt like a good meeting to help form the foundations of what I hope will become an interesting network to be a part of.

Coincidentally, this came the day after I listened to Molly’s Keynote speech at WE05 in Sydney (thanks to the wonderful WE05 podcast). In her presentation titled ‘State of the Web, 2005’, she concluded (if I’m correct) that we are now seeing the web returning to the original vision of Tim Berners-Lee—that it’s about people and relationships.

Being a Small Part of the Bigger Whole

Given some events that have taken place this year I have to agree. @media in London this June proved to me how much the web is becoming as much an experience off-line as it is online. At this conference, whilst the presentations over the two days were interesting and enjoyable, the real buzz for me came during the after show parties. Meeting new people and talking to those I already had some sort of online relationship with—even be it from reading and commenting on their blogs—is the number one reason why I will be attending again next year.

Molly also talked about collaboration. With so many new and existing technologies out there (some that go into quite some depth) the web has become a medium for which if you are to be successful, then you need the help of others to do so. Again this year brought about a perfect example when me and Jon decided to collaborate on a theme for WordPress.

Where I had the design background and a greater knowledge of web standards, Jon had the ability to code in extra features with PHP and knew a whole lot more about WordPress than I did. At first this project seemed like something quite small and unimportant, but in recent months the theme has helped a number of different people get on with blogging rather than worry about design too much. David Watanabe’s DWBlog, and are two great examples.

It is likely that this collaboration will continue too, with a follow on project to be announced in the next few months—hopefully.

A Helping Hand

I have also felt amazingly proud to be part of such an industry and community that has so many people willing to help their peers. My already huge respect for Doug Bowman tripled the day he e-mailed me with some assistance just 5 minutes after I posted a comment on his site asking for help regarding the Photon plug-in for iPhoto. That is not say he is alone either, as I know many others would be as willing to provide the same helping hand, including myself.

In the last few months since Live8, and the MakePovertyHistory campaign, I have been looking for ways in which I can increase my social responsibility and do my little bit to help make the world a better place. Thanks to Molly’s presentation, I have realised that perhaps the web is helping me to do exactly that.


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