IIW Warm Fuzzies

I got a ride home from the Internet Identity Workshop (IIW) from a VP at a Fortune 500 company, and we talked about the complicated natures of our love lives. It felt a little bit like driving home after summer camp, especially since I was on Day 2 with my jeans and underwear. Fortunately, though, I was sporting a nice clean IIW schwag t-shirt, which was neatly ironed for me by the astrophysicist who let me crash on his fold-out hotel suite couch the night before. This, of course, happened after I sang and danced to Abba’s “Dancing Queen” with the conference organizer during karaoke.

The last session I attended at IIW was called “Newbies4Newbies.” Five of us conference first-timers sat around a table with one of the community’s longtime members and talked about our experience. We were all pretty much on the same page with observations:

  • The sparse conference website and jargon-heavy materials provided beforehand gave us the impression that this was a self-contained community. We felt like we were crashing someone else’s party.
  • We ended up in some conversations that were way over our heads, and felt a moment of panic that were very, very much in the wrong place.
  • We took some initiative to figure out what was going on, and started to notice how passionate and productive this community was.
  • We began to feel like we were being heartily welcomed by everyone we talked to, and saw people going out of their way to make sure we were able to engaged in the conversations.
  • We connected with great thinkers and leaders who made themselves available for our questions and ideas, and who took the time to explain complex ideas to us in language we could understand.
  • People recognized that we, as newcomers, had a valuable perspective to offer on what they were doing, and they asked us to share it.
  • We felt like we had become an integral part of the community, and we were sad to see the conference end.

“Workshop” is a fitting term for the event. It really was about getting stuff done. Before I realized what was happening, I found myself helping to spearhead two new working groups which now have clear missions for ongoing roles in the community. The first is called Inclusive Initiatives, and its plan is to coordinate events and identify research studies that will help bring to light a wide range of perspectives on what the public needs from identity solutions. Somehow, I became the Stewards Council Representative for this group (go figure).

The second group sprung out of the “Newbies4Newbies” conversation. We’re rallying together to help bridge the gap between this brilliant community and the people who could join it but don’t know how. Our hope is that by making the website more accessible, developing clear introduction materials, and identifying people who can serve as mentors within the community, Identity Commons will broaden its reach, its influence, and its pool of resources for being effective.

This community is pulling the Internet into an arena where our information is safe and manageable by us, the users. Its projects include things that will take our passwords out of the hands of people we don’t trust, and take our consumer experiences out of the hands of marketers. It’s “the good fight” for our rights on the web.

Listen to me. I’m on a soapbox already. These people got under my skin.

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13 Responses to “IIW Warm Fuzzies”

  1. kaliya Says:

    I am so glad you joined the community.

  2. Debra Roby Says:

    Please tell me there is video of that karaoke session!!

    I’ve had the same reaction to the Identity websites, and am so glad to see that someone will be proactively making it easier.

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