Oct 7, 2005

At ConvergeSouth, I just attended the building community session. Good conversation, with this excellent observation by conference co-organizer Ed Cone:

The highest level of participation in an online community is when you can take people offline.

And TheShu added this:

You can’t have a community if you don’t know who your neighbors are.

And that’s why I was delighted by the conversation in my car this morning, as I drove Bora and Martin from Chapel Hill through the pouring rain to Greensboro. I got Bora talking about his life and education and expertise, and, wow, what a fascinating individual. His mom urged him to leave Serbia as the drums of war got louder; he got out on a train a week before all hell broke loose there, and made his way to North Carolina. In Serbia, he’d studied veterinary science—“Veterinarians are gods, there,” he said—and he used his horsemanship here in the states to train horses and teach riding. He got married, had children, got into graduate school, and is close to finishing his doctoral studies at N.C. State’s department of zoology. He is, it turns out, a brilliant bench scientist with an expertise in circadian rhythms.

And now his blog tagline comes into focus:

Red-State Serbian Jewish atheist liberal PhD student with Thesis-writing block and severe blogorrhea trying to understand US politics by making strange connections between science, religion, brain, language and sex.

This is what I like best about the communities I participate in through my blogging—in the physical, offline activities and events like this bloggercon and our regular meetups, I encounter deeply interesting and nuanced people. That’s why I blog.

Anton Zuiker

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