I don’t know if I’ll write an end of the year reflection or not (probably not) but now that I’m done with my last presentations for ’07 I do want to make note of how much the focus of what I’m doing has changed in the last year. Today, it was all about networks, not tools. All about connections, not publishing. All about working together to get smarter, not learning alone. All about how RSS connects us to ideas, how blogs connect us to people, how Twitter connects us to, um, the Twitterverse, and on and on and on. I think for me, at least, 2007 will be the year that really deepened my understanding of how the tools link us and why that’s so important. Not that I didn’t know that on some level all along, but this year, with NECC providing much of the impetus, it just became all the more cemented into my practice.

In the midst of my session in Ontario today, I video Skyped Jeff Utecht in from Shanghai spur of the moment (thanks, Jeff) to just do a couple of minutes on RSS. It was cool giving the people in the room a sense of how much smaller the world has gotten. But what was pretty profound is when I gave Jeff the choice of giving up his blog or his RSS reader, he didn’t hesitate. “I’ll take RSS and Twitter over the blog any day.” Imagine that. But it’s not hard to see why. RSS and Twitter are where the networks are most potent these days. (Of course, however, the RSS part depends somewhat on us keeping our blogs…)

Or when I Tweeted out the standard “Why do you like Twitter?”, I got 52 responses in about an hour. Not that that is anything especially earth shattering, but I really marveled at the passion in the answers. You can read them all here.

Or when I decide to UStream the first hour on RSS and within a few minutes we had people watching from around the States and Canada. Again, nothing incredible there, but another instance of the network made plain.

It’s different now, somehow, than it was a year ago. It’s more immersive. It all feels deeper, closer somehow. Even more important. Maybe it’s just the glow of the prospect of being home for a month. Or the buzz of spending a couple of days with some folks who seemed to, on some level, get the fact that this really is about more than learning the tools. It’s about creating connections, intellectual connections, for sure, but potentially more.

And, maybe in the end, it’s because when I called Wendy today from the London, Ontario airport and she asked me who I wanted to invite to a holiday party her business is throwing next week, none of first 10 or so faces that flickered through my brain where closer than about 500 miles away from beautiful downtown Flemington. (Except for one.)

And so it goes…

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