I know of no other experience like attending Gnomedex, which hopefully reflects more on the people it brings together than on the fact I’m something of a shut-in. But, for lack of a better term, Wow! Day One was just amazing.
Every presentation on Day One was amazing, but I think Susan Mernit‘s was the most amazing. It certainly was the most intimate: None of the other presenters at Gnomedex talked about relationships or the personal details of their lives in the way that Susan did in front of the audience. Even Chris Pirillo and Philip ‘Pud‘ Kaplan for all their extrovert behavior are less likely to talk about the secret fears and feelings which everyone have. Well, Pud at least. 🙂 I think Chris has learned, though, which parts of his private life can and cannot be shared with the public.
I initially thought it was a bit naïve to go to Gnomedex and expect to have a frank, participatory conversation with an audience about relationships, sexuality and *gasp* how they feel. The more I think about it, though, the more I think about how now, more than ever, this is an important topic to bring up. The Internet has always had its demi-private little corners for people who want to explore what it means to have a sexual identify in the Information Age—The alt.sex.bondage newsgroup is one of those places which comes to mind—but as Internet usage goes from rare and precious to commoner and commoner to unnoticed-because-everyone-is-(inter)connected-these-days-via-the-Internet and people are adopting these new technologies and using them in their daily lives in ways to such an extent that whole industries have appeared to support them that some kind of dialogue be opened on what it means to be in love or looking for love, a relationship or just sex in an era where access to information created by you is commonplace.
As for myself, I have always thought that the important thing about having a personal was that it was yours and it was personal and secret and something you could keep to yourself without having to share the intimate, embarrassing daily parts of your life with the public. That’s not always the case, though, and Susan has made me think about what parts of my life I want and choose to share with you.