If this is a somewhat rambling post, I apologize. I’m a bit discombobulated and I’m fighting back tears as I type this.
Next week, I’ll be co-running a session on Flickr and libraries at NEKLS Tech Day. I was brainstorming about it with Michael Porter, and he made this point: Flickr and other social web tools have created avenues for the two of us, him in California and me in Kansas, to have a cheerful conversation and have each other listed as “friends” on Flickr, MySpace and other sites–and we’ve never met face-to-face.
Which is really cool and important, but is, right now, just a way for me to lead up to this: Britt Daniel died last week in a motorcycle accident at the age of 39.
I never met Britt in person. He posted on a forum devoted to tabletop role-playing games, which I also posted on. He was contentious, mischievous and outspoken. At first, we had a tendency to disagree. But behind his snarky online demeanor was a very nice and funny guy. We discovered that we had a lot in common: a love of old comics (especially from the Golden Age), a love of sword and sorcery fantasy, and a love of redheads. We would occasionally send PMs to each other, making jokes and just being friendly with each other. I wanted to meet him in person, if only to buy him a beer and chat with him. But I never actually did. And yet, thanks to this new technology, this social networking technology that has suddenly become so controversial, I feel as if I’ve lost a real friend.
Goodbye, Britt. I’m sorry I never got to meet you face-to-face. But I’m glad I got to meet you at all.