So, Web Directions South 2006 has been and gone. Workshops done, speeches made, drinks drunk, geeks very drunk and hundreds of photos on Flickr to prove it. My email inbox has been inundated with messages from various systems informing me that I'm connected, shared, tagged and released :)
Those of you who were kind enough to drop by and see Cheryl and I speak may recall me talking about "being part of something". The point is, we are part of a worldwide group of people working hard to make the web a better place. I encourage everyone to take part, leap in and get involved; and to seek comfort within the community when the job hands us a bad day.
Less formally, some of you may recall Molly and I at the Pump House extolling the virtues of our wonderful tribe. Tribe? Well, yes. Modern life is tribal - we find ourselves in huge cities but associate ourselves with smaller groups within that population. Tribes, in other words. Online, we can associate with like-minded individuals from around the planet. Occasionally at events like WD06 we are lucky enough to get large numbers of these people into the same room.
The only downside is that so many of them have to leave again afterwards :)
You really can't sum up an event like WD06. As Nick has observed, talking about it requires name-dropping and worst of all you might miss someone. Part of the wonder of the event is the fact there are no barriers between the punters and the speakers. That simple fact was probably the most important thing I learned at WE05.
So best of all this year was the excitement of knowing I'd be catching up with friends. You know who you are and you don't need XFN, tags or connections to know it :)