The 30 November 2010 meeting for NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology issues) raised two questions in my mind.
- Should we try to have 'more effective' NEW NET tech enthusiast meetings?
- How can we make our NEW NET meetings more effective?
The answers to the above questions depend largely on who is answering.
Some NEW NET meeting participants may be satisfied with merely getting together periodically with others who enjoy discussing technology. If all you're looking for is a chance to geek out with a few like-minded people, the current format of NEW NET likely suits you to a T.
If you're looking for a chance to get specific technology questions answered to solve a problem, the typical NEW NET gatherings are probably ok, but could do with a bit of improvement, especially if you're reluctant to interrupt other discussion threads to ask for help with your problem. NEW NETers are happy to help each other figure out interesting tech problems, but they're not very good mind readers. If someone wants a specific question or topic to be the focus of a meeting, or at least be one of the conversations on a given night, you need to speak up and not let geek ADD or the plethora of available tech news topics derail your quest for knowledge and enlightenment.
Another potential goal for NEW NET meetings could be to inform all meeting participants about the top tech news of the past seven days. We have been known to at least briefly mention or discuss all thirty to seventy tech news items on the weekly NEW NET list. However, touching on each of the NET NET items is a rare occurrence and can be extremely challenging to do in a two hour gathering. It takes hundreds of 'journalists' many thousands of hours to track down tech news stories, do thorough and unbiased research on each topic, and write up balanced, accurate and interesting articles or posts -- so it tends to be a Herculean feat to slice and dice, interpret, assess the accuracy of the article/post, and then reach consensus amongst the NEW NET participants as to what each piece of tech news means for us and for northeast Wisconsin. Whew...not an easy task we've undertaken!
A 30,000' view of the NEW NET weekly gatherings includes using those gatherings as one way to build the technology community of our region. Considering this viewpoint leads one to conclude there should be more communication about and marketing of NEW NET, there should be a more effective and intentional effort for NEW NET to engage and be a resource for tech enthusiasts in northeast Wisconsin, and there should be more work put into becoming part of, and facilitating growth of, a distributed tech knowledge network in the New North.
Before I try to answer Question #2 above, there needs to be a bit more discussion about what benefits other potential participants feel NEW NET meetings might offer them. If tech enthusiasts, geeks, hackers, makers and DIYers of northeast Wisconsin are interested in using NEW NET meetings as a way to build, strengthen and expand a community of like-minded people, NEW NET is interested in how it can help. Stay tuned for answers to Q #2 in a future post here on the myDigitechnician blog.
At the 07 December 2010 NEW NET meeting, we will discuss what the participants want to get out of the Tuesday meetings and what they think other potential participants might find valuable enough to get them to come to the meetings regularly or semi-regularly.
If NEW NET meetings sound worthwhile for you -- we hope to see you soon.
If NEW NET meetings sound worthwhile for someone you know -- tell them about NEW NET and suggest they participate in at least one meeting soon.