There are two types of web designers and developers: the ones that care and the ones that don’t. The ones that care are the ones that keep up to speed with current events, technologies, thoughts and best-practices. And the ones that don’t, well, they don’t.
I believe the latter group outweighs the former in volume, yet they are not interesting to talk or write about. The web designers and developers that care are the interesting ones. Because most of them are on metaphorical islands — wherever they be geographically.
Apart from a few hubs, like San Francisco, Austin, New York and London, the ones that care are scattered around the globe in an ocean of people that don’t get it, or just don’t care.
Luckily, the ones that care work (and generally live) on the web. In an industry where a new thing launches or gets published every quarter of a second, be it a product, a podcast, a bit of code or a blog post. We share just about anything with our industry peers. Yet we are still on these islands. Sure, chatting and having Skype calls is fun, we are still missing a real life human connection.
The great thing is that, in the last few years, we have gained a vast amount of small, affordable (web) conferences for all of us to converge. I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to attend a few of them. For the lovely talks the speakers gave. But equally, if not more importantly, for the human connection; a human connection with crazy talented and awesome like-minded people. A way to put the mimicry of a face to the words written on the screen.
It’s the subconscious realization that there are people out there with the same mindset as you do. Crazy ass nerds that care for the web and the craft as much as you. Getting together with people you already talk to on the web, and the ones you have never heard of before.
I cannot stress enough how important I find this human connection – that’s probably why I wrote about it before. It will reaffirm your mindset towards best-practices. It will show you why you care. It will empower you to do more, better. Because being on your island, even if you have a few people there with you, can become lonely. And it can make you start doubting yourself and that great thing you care about.
So if you have the means, please attend a web conference where people come who care about the web – eg. not the business-oriented ones. Most small conferences cost less than half than the cheapest iPad. And if you do not have the means. Look around for an unconference (a barcamp, Pecha Kucha, Refresh etc.) or a meet-up near you. Chances are you will bump into people who care about something as much as you do, and it might even be the same thing you care about.
Because we need more people who care. And we need to talk more with each other.