Friday, May 30, 2008

geographical anonymity

On the Internet, nobody knows you live in Dogtown.

I've volunteered to do the publicity for PyOhio. I guess it's going really well. Two months out, we've already got 80 people signed up for the PyOhio announcements mailing list. If we assume that most of them will come to PyOhio, plus some others, and that the numbers will keep growing... maybe I'd better relax before we max out the library's capacity.

Still, bootstrapping a regional community is an interesting challenge. It's easy to go out on the internet and find a bazillion people who use Python - but how many of them are in or near Ohio? The wonderfully free-floating nature of the Internet and the open-source community, where geography is irrelevant, can become frustrating when geography actually is relevant.

Finding local companies is even harder. Most companies' websites try to give the impression that they have no geographical location whatsoever - wouldn't want to put off a potential client just because they're on another continent, after all. They also try to avoid mentioning the languages they use, again trying not to appear limited. (In a sense, that's a very good thing, because end users should shop for brains, not tools - it's just difficult for this application.) Finally, with a technology like Python, many of us users sneak it into our jobs without our higher-ups even knowing it, much less promoting it as a strength of their companies.

Any ideas? Googling for "Python Ohio" gets... well, me. Looking for "Python" plus the domain names of Ohio universities is helping a bit. (Universities, unlike businesses, do publicize their physical locations and the technologies they use.)

Anyway, if you've been thinking of submitting an abstract for PyOhio, quit thinking and write; our deadline is June 1 (this Sunday). And don't forget to blog...

That number again:

Regional Python programming miniconference

July 26th, 2008
Columbus Metropolitan Library
96 S. Grant Ave.
Columbus, OH 43215

(Side note: Blogger's captchas are very near the threshhold of legibility, and getting worse. If I quit posting, I guess you'll know why.)

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