Saturday, January 01, 2011

Goodbye 2010 - or, the year of being social

Jean-Paul Sartre famously told us "Hell is other people" (in his play No Exit), and while I am sure that we all agree with this sentiment from time to time, the reverse, "Paradise is other people", is also true. Think back on any great experience in your life, and I am willing to bet that other people played a major part in it.

Well, 2010 is now over, and looking back, it was certainly more a case of Paradise than Hell. And I contribute that to all the great people I had the pleasure of spending time with this year.

When 2010 started, I decided that I wanted to expand my social circles - not because I didn't have a number of great friends (I did, and still do), but because I think it's important for your personal growth to try to find new input, and to get different perspectives. I wasn't exactly sure how I would go around doing it, but it was definitely a goal for 2010.

In retro-perspective, I can only say that I've succeeded in that beyond my wildest expectations, and beyond any expectations anyone could reasonably have.

So, how did that happen?

Simply put: other people arranged stuff, and I turned up. Surprisingly how effective that can be, isn't it? Well, what kind of stuff did I turn up to?

1) Tech events of all sorts. Copenhagen is lucky enough to have several groups and companies willing to arrange free technical sessions of high quality, and it has been great to participate in those. Among the groups and companies whose arrangements I've participated in is CNUG, Microsoft Demark, Trifork, and Socialsquare.

2) Perth Skeptics. This might seem a bit weird, given I live across the world from them, but remember that I am half Australian. I spent January month in Perth, and during my stay there were two meetups - one in a park and one in a pub. During the later, the Perth Skeptics participated in the 1023 homeopathy overdose campaign, and afterwards, I talked a bit about skepticism in Scandinavia (sadly lacking) and skeptic/science blogging (go on, do it!). Apart from meeting Kylie Sturgess I also got to meet a number of other Perth Skeptics, and definitely was happy that I took the time to participate.

3) Likemind Cph. A monthly coffee meeting open to everyone, allowing people to network and meet new people. Great crowd, and even if it might seem a bit intimidating, everybody there are friendly, and willing to meet new people (otherwise, what's the point?). Here is a short video of the February meeting (which I didn't participate in). Here is the facebook page of Likemind Cph.

4) The Atheist Alliance International conference in Copenhagen in June arranged together with Ateistisk Selskab. It was a great event with some great speakers, but it also gave me the chance to meet some fellow pharyngulites (people who comments at Pharyngula). I even had five of them staying at my place during the conference. Among the people I managed to meet were Robert Dobbs/Ye Olde Blacksmith, who does some great metal stuff, Jadehawk, and Martin/Rorschach.

5) Last, but definitely not least, Twitter events in Copenhagen. I've in the past explained what Twitter is to me, but since then, Twitter has become so much more. A simple way of illustrating this is to state the fact that just during the last week alone, I've spent 3 evenings, including New Years Eve, with people I've met through Twitter and who I didn't know a year ago.

So, how did this come around, and what Twitter events am I talking about?

Well, as far as I can tell, we have a pretty unique Twitter culture in Copenhagen, and much of it is due to the work of the two twitters @laurajul and @morgenthaler, who decided to arrange some bi-monthly Friday bars for the Copenhagen Twitterati. These Friday bars have been a great success, and people have started to not only follow each other on Twitter, but also to actually become friends outside Twitter.

So, what does 2011 hold in store for me? I have absolutely no clue, but I am looking forward to experiencing it together with my friends, old as new, and see what it brings.

Happy New Year everybody, and may 2011 bring great friendships and much joy.

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Blogger Unknown said...

I'm so tempted to say "Amen" to your points, but you might slap me. :D

Seriously, I don't know what happened this year around Twitter, but it was special and I wouldn't do without it. Maybe @laurajul and @morgenthaler are alchymists and found a way to turn lead into gold?

See you at #twedagsbar, #likemind, and whatever else the creative braincells in this area of the globe cook up!

January 01, 2011 4:25 PM  
Blogger Kristjan Wager said...

Don't worry Karen - I am just a vocal atheist, not a militant one.

January 01, 2011 4:35 PM  

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