No doubt about it, Webstock '08 was another great success. Some brilliant speakers gave us the big buzz of having to think for two days solid about new ideas, facts and trends not to mention all those snappy quotes. Many people have been blogging it to bits, thank goodness.
My own response was to not-blog. I was exhausted by all this external cerebral stimulation. I had an urge to hide away and absorb all these new facts and thoughts. To revert to (my) type, which is introvert. Which means no blogging. Which brings an obvious risk of forgetting all the terrific Webstock input.
But the buzz goes on regardless, fortunately. Those synapses have had their little snooze and are now ready to snap crackle and pop again at the slightest provocation. A single new notion out of the blue does not a buzzer make: the thought has to be connected to another previous thought, or it doesn't stick.
Taking Play Seriously by Robin Marantz Henig caught my attention in the NY Times. In a sober analysis of current theory she refuses to endorse theories that are ultimately just pretty or squishy, of which there are many. While acknowledging that there isn't a single proven theory about the purpose of free play, she says, "Of course play is good for something; it is the essence of good."
So how does this connect to Webstock? On page 10 of the article is a reference to Stephen Jay Gould:
The most highly adaptive organisms, Gould wrote, are those that embody both the positive and the negative, organisms that possess an opposite set of attributes usually devalued in our culture: sloppiness, broad potential, quirkiness, unpredictability and, above all, massive redundancy. Finely tuned specific adaptations can lead to blind alleys and extinction, he wrote; the key is flexibility.
Does this relate to web design? Scalable Web 2.0 sites? Does it ever! The first time I read the final sentence, I substituted specifications for specific adaptations. An extreme leap, indeed.
Does it relate to Webstock? Way yes (except for sloppiness). Webstock is a playground stocked with great ideas, food, design and especially people. It's been said before: a conference like no other.