Since the very beginning when Tim Owens and I were getting Reclaim Hosting up and running two years ago, Howard Rheingold was right their experimenting with the platform for his classes at Stanford as well as providing broader support for our efforts through his vast network. I’ve come to understand over the last few years why Howard’s work is ground zero when it comes to imagining the web as a humanized construct for bringing people together. I could point to his pioneering work with online communities viz-a-viz The Well, his numerous books on all things social web, innumerable blog posts, etc. That’s all part of an extensive archive of its own that will stand testament to his brilliant career thinking about the web as the social fabric of the future.
But more than anything it’s him—the person who online (and off) supports your work enthusiastically, champions ideas he believes in, and honestly and openly shares his excitement with others. There is no bullshit with Howard. He is who he is, and he shares what he likes. He didn’t have to do his previous feature of ds106 (though I’m glad he did because it enabled us to work together on Connected Courses), nor did he have to conduct this recent interview with Tim and I about Reclaim Hosting, but he did. And I really appreciate it, but more than anything I have come to appreciate him. Few people have been bigger advocates for this work over the last few years, and I’m personally honored he’s taken an interest in what we’re doing. It’s buoyed me more than a few times when I’ve had to ride the surf of uncertainty as I left the belly of higher ed–so thanks for ruling Howard, and thanks for yet another fun discussion.