Ok, so not only did I actually run counter to Microsoft culture and take a weekend (*almost* getting by without checking my work email but still the habit was too strong), but I added insult to injury by going to the Social Computing Symposium and missing two days of work. Except of course I'm now on email so no one misses me anyway.
What I am digging about this format is that it has the strengths of a graduate program (small cluster, dedicated people) but the cluster of 80 folks allowed to grace the halls of the Redmond Marriott for this event is actually large enough that you are constantly on your toes as interesting people stop to chat with you. I was lucky enough to sit at a table that included Howard Rheingold and a UW professor David Silver on the right hand, and then John Dempsey who contracts for Microsoft but has made his fame with a social computing mapping of livejournal. Howard was wearing an excellent cordoroy paisley blazer and very warm animated expression. David Silver looked like a grad student in Gap clothing and excited gesticulating about being in Europe. John Dempsey waxed poetic about the co-founders of livejournal.com who in a past life I have actually met - folks from the UW, and John had a blazer on. I made us talk about Malcolm Gladwell's blink for 5 minutes just cause I figured this was a great posse to talk to about it.
Why am I going on about what these famous people are wearing? well, you know they'd do it in People magazine for Christina Aguilera, so why not here. ;-)
Myself, I am wearing a black jacket, patterned shirt, and bright light olive skirt that I already spilled tea on by knocking someone's cup over with my laptop bag.
So gems of knowledge - well, right now it is after lunch and I'm sitting in a presentation where David Weinberger has used the word "Hegelian" in a sentence (remember, this is the symposium where I had a secret hope that someone else had used the word "bozo" in their position paper like I had. I'm digging out my UC Berkeley literary theory classes to understand all these PhDs.). And he's just said, "Authors don't tag, readers tag." And everyone is talking about Aristotle and organizing knowledge into trees. There's this tension between taxonomy and the DIY tagging of people doing it on the Internet for themselves.
It is awesome but it will be scary to go back to the real world.
So far in reading the bios of the other folks, no one else has used the word "bozo." Damn.