Last night was our final Cleveland Weblogger Meetup for 2007. George has been a bit flummoxed about the erratic attendance at these events lately, but last night is a testimony to the value of these meetups and how they enhance our Northeast Ohio blogger community. There we were fourteen of us gathered around a grouping of four tables at the East 185th Street Arabica trying to be heard over a music system which wasn’t quite used for background. More importantly, all of us tried to hear every word said by the others because we had ALL had a very interesting 2007. As usual, we started off with short introductions of who we were and a short description of our blogs. Of course, some of us have more than one and so right away George told us we needed to pick one. He asked how many blogged in more than one place. Almost half the hands were raised high.
Then we moved on to the highlights of 2007 for us with the intention of discussing 2008 as our next topic, but many of the things started this year are moving right into 2008 so that was a bit hard to do. Everyone should expect another stellar year in the blogosphere of NEO. Jack and George are writing a book. Molly has started a women’s group. Jill has had quite a few opportunities appear. Tim’s and Joel’s businesses have both moved to another level. Rick Pollack is working diligently to bolster entrepreneurship in NEO. Interactive TV, No More WalMart, new blogs, enhanced adolescent blogs, and much, much more is on tap for NEO. Mike Fiegenbaum had some really interesting insights on the local economy and how internet sales increase for Lucy’s Sweet Surrender when a televised segment he did SIX YEARS AGO airs again.
Two new guys appeared-Pat and Matt and I hope they continue to show. They came after introductions and I didn’t get a chance to chat so I am deficient on info. Can anyone help me out here? Anyway, it is always good to see new faces in the crowd. New perspectives, new thoughts, new stories to share enhances the conversation. At one point, the music just became too distracting-I am sorry to say I don’t think I heard one word Bob Rhubart had to say, and that is a shame because he has such good content. George suggested we break into smaller segments to discuss the topics we had brushed on lightly. He suggested we mix it up a bit and move to other tables and talk with other people. I am always amazed that we ACTUALLY accomplish that. Time and time again, in other groups, the same suggestion is made and we still stick with the comfortable. Our group dynamics are such that we want to leave one comfort zone and go to another.
Here is a snippet of the topics that Will, Jeff, Derek, and I talked about in our group-Wal Mart’s declining market share which morphed into women in politics and then into business and then we jumped to education, and probably to the more interesting part of the conversation, for me at least, Will’s fiction book which then began a discussion of 1984. I shared the story about my daughter’s perspective being different than mine when she read it. Katie brought the book home in high school and I commented “That is one of the scariest books I have ever read.” Later, when she was finished with the book she asked my why I thought it was so scary because she couldn’t agree. I reread the book and realized that much of what I found so scary she had experienced in her everyday life. We then talked about changing perspectives and Jeff suggested that reading lists had not changed much from the 1960’s. We all agreed with that perception-Catcher in the Rye, A Separate Peace-Derek groaned at that one-A Scarlet Letter-we all groaned at that one. Derek then suggested that you would think that nothing significant had been written since 1960. We all nodded our heads, and realized that we had just found another reason that education has fallen behind.
But, Jeff left us with one of his nuggets of wisdom and hope-the internet is changing things and the reader has now become the gatekeeper and people are reading many different novels and newspapers and online journals and bloggers are sharing the information and knowledge is exploding. And then I moved on to another group, and there is just not time or space to discuss where Molly, Jill, Joel and I went with our conversation. All in all, the two hours went by incredibly swiftly. And I can only hope that we continue to get together periodically in 2008 to see how our year is progressing and so we can continue to cheer each other on to new heights. As Joel said, the face-to-face meetings build the trust we need to strengthen the on-line community. I couldn’t agree more.
And finally, thanks, George, for giving your time, energy and commitment to all of us. Because when it is all said and done, I wouldn’t have any one of the friends I have mentioned in this post if it were not for you. So Thank you for your wonderful gift to all of us. I greatly appreciate it.