A look back on the people that influenced and impacted my life in 2010.
When I moved back to Omaha in 2004, it took some time for me to feel connected to the city again. One thing that expedited the process was when I joined Twitter in 2008. I was able to converse with people around the city. One of the individuals I got connected with was an old friend, Jeff Slobotski. I found out he helped start the blog Silicon Praire News, and started following it.
Silicon Prairie News (SPN) seemed more like a community than a blog, though. Through their posts, I found myself getting connected with numerous people and companies in the area. SPN would host networking events, and I’d attend. I didn’t think I’d know anyone, but then I’d meet people I talked to on Twitter. It was great.
Of course, there is also Big Omaha, which is an event in May gathering creatives, innovators, entrepreneurs and more. I’ve attended the first two years, and each time walked away with a wealth of knowledge, inspiration and contacts.
Through SPN, and Big Omaha, I’ve not only reconnected with Omaha after being away for almost a decade, but my passion to see Omaha be a great community continues to grow. Not only that, through SPN and its work, I’ve been given numerous ideas that I’ve used in my life and work. More and more, with my social media and creative pursuits at work, I’m using something I picked up from some SPN story or event.
I’ve also been able to get to know the guys behind SPN, Jeff, Dusty and Danny, and they are great. Humble, cool, and willing to serve others, especially when it serves the community at large. A couple of times I asked Jeff if he’d be willing to meet with someone I knew, or come out and share with staff and volunteers at work. He was always gracious and gave his time to help someone out. When he came and shared with roughly thirty staff one day over the lunch hour, it probably didn’t seem like much. However, looking back it was a key event that helped a number of staff realize they needed to embrace social media tools with their work.
As I pray and sort through what it is I’m suppose to be doing here in Omaha, and how I can best serve the area, I find myself referencing SPN. They have a community established, they serve Omaha and the midwest, and people come to them for any number of reasons. When people in churches and ministries ask me who is doing online community well, I refer to SPN. My hope is churches create community, online and offline, just as well.
Watching these guys challenge and inspire me with my life and work.