Last night I actually took some time to start getting involved with the discussion over at Doterati, and then this morning, I am treated as though I am a hostile outsider, and I was told by Mark Krupinski to go and read the other blogs and comments that have shaped his comments into being so aggressive.
Apparently, everybody hates Ted Murphy. I don't. I think he's a smart guy who wants to do his job. The fact that he's associated with this community is actually a boon, because he's had several successful businesses. More than I can say for myself.
I thought Tara Lamberson and Ted were doing lots of the work, but I had noticed Dan Kinchen, Robert Dempsey and others leaving lots of "Welcome" comments on everyone's profile. It actually seemed to me like there was a concentrated effort for one of those 4 key folks to leave a comment on every profile, so when I pointed this out to Mark, I used the s-word: spam. Apparently, this is some sort of a curse word. I was just calling it like I saw it. Not trying to stir up s-word.
I also stated my distaste at using Ning, which ships with tons of features, over starting with a blog or a forum and throwing a few widgets, then seeing where everything goes from there. On this point, I am corrected. Apparently, Mark and the rest of the Membership Committee (what, they have one of those, there have been seven meetings? was there an invite list for this?) decided to set up Ning to facilitate their own internal conversations, but I was getting lots of pings to come check out the site, so I thought that was the plan - Ning forever, go Ning! Ning is King!
Appartenly Mark was not ready for the onslaught of people. This is fine.
With an onslaught of people, especially people who have read or heard lots of crazy things about Ted Murphy, who is tangentially involved with this project, that is bound to bring down a lot more s-word and f-word and c-word and l-word.
Thus far, I have yet to weigh in on the subject. Some other folks have.
Alex Rudloff left some initial Orlando Tech Association thoughts on his blog which generated some discussion. Alex tends to be good at that. In his blog, he links to a post by Lawrence Salberg on the evil Ted Murphy and his attempt to start up a social network in Orlando. I believe Lawrence missed the target by a huge degree.
I have seen Ted Murphy's social networking outreaches, and they are always way more obvious than just putting your name at the bottom of the page. I actually joined their meetup.com group because I will be attending the IZEA Fest (which is across the street from my house) because there will be some great speakers there. What I thought was outre was the message I was sent a few minutes later - get your friends to sign up and get 25% of their ticket price! Ah, there's the PayPerPost we all know and love...
Just in case I haven't made it clear Ted != Doterati. Ted is a member like anyone else, and from what I can tell, each member chooses his or her level of involvement, which is as it should be. Ted put up a few dollars to buy a domain name and a Ning account. That's fair. My name is on the Florida Creatives domain, but I don't claim ownership of the concept. Honestly, the meetup was originally conceived as a way to get everyone in the same room so we could talk about having conferences - which he have done, and the events were great. Really great.
I can only look ahead to the future of tech in Central Florida optimistically - in my own universe there used to be zero user-groups for PHP and Drupal, and now there are 3, and I've been asked to speak at all 3. Rock.
We are not operating in a silo here - there is a need for lots of cross-pollination and kumbaya here. If someone makes a comment against Doterati, don't take it personally - what you have in fact found is a passionate participant who wants to be there, and clearly has an idea of how things should be done - encourage the commentary! Maybe after they've whined for a few minutes they'll stop and take a look at the potential of the thing and set up in the corner holding a sandwich board, ringing a bell and crying about how everyone should be there and sign up for the site!
Once the snapback comes on this and folks can get over it, we can all take a deep breath, have a beer, and wonder what it was we all got so flustered over. For now, I'll try to re-read my comments before I post constructive criticism.
I love all of you guys. Hope to see you all this Monday for Florida Creatives Happy Hour or Wednesday for the Doterati Town Hall.