Web 2.0 Expo and My Social Capital

by francine Hardaway on March 5, 2009

I’m coming up to the Bay Area in late March, of course to visit my grandchildDoodles gives me Whuffie points, but also to attend Web 2.0 Expo. and support the community that has embraced me and taught me the power of the social graph.

Yes, like the conference’s theme, I’m doing more with less, but the one thing I feel I have to re-invest is my social capital, my connection to the Web 2.0 community with its awesome connectivity and networking resources. I want to support that community, both because it has supported me, and because it provides a positive way to use the downturn for personal growth.

This morning, during the second of my Blueprint for Survival workshops, I helped a group of laid off workers get their arms around the tremendous power of free tools like Twitter, WordPress and LinkedIn, which they can use to free themselves from the sense of victimhood they felt when they walked out of their former jobs. Just knowing about these tools and knowing how to use them to connect to a larger world made them smile.

One man, a real estate developer, was stunned that he no longer had to pay for fax machines, conference calls, web site design, or resume writers. During the three years he was in his latest position, all those tools had moved online. Likewise, one of the other participants was stunned by Google applications. We spent the morning together exploring, and I felt like a native field guide in an online jungle. Me Jane.

We have a long ways to go in realizing the potential of what we’ve unleashed. The period we are in now, when we are consolidating our gains, reminds me of the time after 9/11, when Amazon, EBay, and Yahoo began to prove their utility and their game-changing nature. As retail wasn’t the same after e-commerce, office work will not be the same after Web 2.0.

Getting an opportunity to introduce people to the enormous community-building potential of Web 2.0 makes me look forward to a chance to reconnect with my Bay Area buddies.

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