December 12, 2007

So, don't I know you?

As I spend more and more time on Linked-In, Facebook and other social networking sites, I am learning about how many people I have forgotten and how many have forgotten me.

In fact, this whole networking thing is becoming one of my regrets of life. How come I was so busy with work and family that I "forgot" to keep up with the people I met at conferences, through blogs and listservs, via places like downtown Flint, Lansing, East Lansing and Michigan State University, or through events like Wheatland Music Festival, Walnut Valley Festival, and the Flint Bluegrass Festival.

(OK, my family might argue about me keeping up with the family. After all, they laughed when they read on Facebook that I was a recovering workaholic and perfectionist.)

I recently had a Facebook outrage when an innocent question from a colleague about something in my status uncovered a range of emotions and feelings I didn't realize I had.

The statement that started the whole discussion revolved around being tired of institutions claiming they were only doing what their constituents wanted, ignoring the flaw in the way the "wants" were collected.

Before the discussion ended, I dumped on the colleague for forgetting our past. Yeah, I couldn't believe this person could forget that I interviewed him about 11 years earlier and written countless comments on his blogs over the years. Or that he didn't know me from other times our paths had crossed.

It didn't take long for me to understand what I was criticizing him for was the exact same thing I was doing to others. (Not a new "revelation", even making Anil Dash's blog way back in 1999, which yes, I forgot I used to read religiously.)

Why in just one week, I heard from three "strangers."

The first was a man whose book I helped edit. A book!

Then I started having e-talks with a man who got me into IRC years ago so we could chat about community computer networks in real time instead of through the use-net group. (Long before AIM)

Then I heard from this guy who wanted to know if I still collected recordings of "Jerusalem's Ridge" because he'd found a version he knew he hadn't given me in the years I did a radio show called Just Country.

I didn't remember any of them until they reminded me.


Wish I had been smart like Robb Montgomery, who uses several social networks to keep in touch with the colleagues he has met over the last 20 years.

"I have a photographic memory - I have to take photos to remember things. I can connect photos and contacts and remember people and events better."

Heck, right now I wish I had been smart enough to not wipe out all of my contacts on the Iphone this week. Or knew how to easily get them back (and, no my backup was useless.)


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