Tonight on air I will pass the keyboard of the blogger in chief to Greta Pemberton. Greta started last summer as an intern and now serves as the living example of what I say at every conference: “Step one, hire someone younger than you.” If you went to Brown you may remember Greta as last year’s commencement speaker; if you work in the Open Source office you know her as the woman who cracks the whip to make sure that all community emails get answered and all community-pitched shows get responded to. She has refined blog search to a black art, and if you’re an active part of the Open Source community, Greta is already the best friend you didn’t know you had. She cares — aggressively — about making sure the website and the radio show talk to each other.
As the title of this post suggests, I am leaving Open Source. I will be consulting a bit, most immediately for Economist.com in New York. But I’m also looking around; if we were a rock band, the press release would read “pursuing other projects.” As with all decisions that involve people you love dearly, this was a difficult one; I have certainly enjoyed the novelty of being the only blogger in chief in public radio, and I have certainly enjoyed the daily miracle of sitting around with a group of really smart people and making something up from scratch. Those people, the producers at Open Source, already got a long and rather overly soppy email from me; I’ll save myself the embarrassment of replicating it here.
What I wanted to say here, though, is that the most fascinating part of my last two years at Open Source has been watching the comment threads become sentient, become a community that knows itself, that emails back and forth, that demands improvements to the site and that even hops back out into the real world onto ferries and Vespas to meet up. On Friday at a concert in Boston I met a man who on our website calls himself “nother.” I had known nother for two years online, but never off; I quote him at least once a week on air, but there he was, incarnate, offering me a beer. I’ve talked via skype to a Brit in Finland; I’ve taken development advice from an American in Amsterdam. A very generous woman taught me how to knit, and is still teaching me about web community.
Turns out you people all really exist.
This is the joy of this program, that very real people happen by the website and give of themselves so willingly and so often. I thank you for that, I hope that you email me in real life (greeley gmail com) and I remain, for the next six hours at least, your grateful Blogger in Chief.
Perhaps then a Blogger Emeritus. I’ll ask Mary.