Taking command of the Enterprise and re-appreciating the social web.

Its about ten PM on this Friday night. Outside, in absence of the
better cold , a gay breeze dances through the sleeping city. Reminding
all of us just how absent the winter is this year. Nyana has decided to
call it a night, and even Neelix has traded his endless playfulness for
a lazy lay in his basket. I sit downstairs behind my 17 inch powerbook,
enjoying the rapping sounds of the keys in the silence. In the
background Jean Michelle Jar’s fourth track of the cd "Waiting for
Cousteau" . 45 minutes of pure serenity. An Ideal moment for a
reflection of what has been going on over the last few days.

The
new job brought a whole new ballgame
, a lot of drastic changes and
challenges. A landscape very different of what I was used to. Swiped
away from the old routine and structure of a giant multinational and
being flung out on the fringes of the new frontier. Where first I was a
cog in a giant mechanism, Now its like being the first second third and
final line of support for the people that need my help.

One of
the most drastic changes has of course been the way I look at the web
these days.
Up until now, I have considered myself a not very active
part of the whole web 2.0. Tucked away between the corporate firewall
for the most part of the day, Things like Twitter, Skype, Facebook,
Myspace and other social networks where beyond my reach. In my job as a
field engineer, there where clear guidelines to the problems I had to
solve. Some things had certain procedures, some things needed to be
passed on to third or fourth line support. Some things where within my
jurisdiction, others where to be handled by other departments. But that
has changed. In my job as a Mobile Field engineer / network
administrator in a much smaller company .. its like getting command of
the Enterprise.


Pardon the Star Trek analogy.. But that
is really what it feels like. Instead of being tucked away in the folds
of Earths solar system, preforming a predefined set of routine tasks,
my captaincy now falls over a ship that is on (and beyond) the final
frontier. Being out there, on your own ..You have to solve the problem.
You are the first, second, third and fourth line support. The Captain
Kirk who, far away from Starfleet rules and Starfleet assistance, has
to solve the problem (and kiss at least one alien girl). What I mean to
say is that I am cut loose of the giant corporate body and am flying
solo amids the challenges of every day. Bending the rules, being on your own ..

Bless the Matrix for the
web
. For now (more then ever) I feel just how it can bring us all
together. I"ve written before how I don’t have a lot of "real life"
friends and acquaintances but have buddies where I can sleep-over on
every continent of the planet. With my job its the same thing. My "Army
of Peers" is not located three doors down in the landscape office, its
not on the other side of an email address that allows you to "pass the
buck" to somebody else .. My army of peers is on Twitter, in Facebook,
on Msn, Skype, Googletalk, on forums ..  Listening to Barbara on the
last "Mike tech show" round table she summed it up perfectly. As
troubleshooters, field engineers, network administrators who are out
there in the field .. these web based "communities" are our tribes. Our
place where we can go for help, our digital bar where we can hang out
with peers who understand us.

I must revise my cynicism in
looking at a lot of these social networks.
Hammering down on Dave (of
the Global Geek Podcast) that most social networks are a waste of time,
only suitable for teens who have nothing else to do now their "texting
credits" have run out, might have been a bit harsh. I feel that a well
filled IM list (with useful contacts) some nice long productive email
threads with colleagues around the globe, and of course a friendly
helpful reply in a forum, are good things to have. And where it feels
good to be supported, understood and accepted.. there is of course no
greater joy.. then to contribute and give something back.

So I
lay down my sceptic words and find my way back on Twitte
r, check my
contacts on Facebook and start noticing the names before a post on the
forums. Cause even in cyberspace .. it pays to be a people person….

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