By Rich Simon Two years ago, when we put out an issue about digital technology and how it was revolutionizing the way we experienced our relationships, I was having a little revolution of my own. A long-time Luddite who’d been dragged into the Computer Age, I had just acquired my first iPod and was in a state of deep infatuation, entranced by the possibilities for connection and entertainment promised by that little digital baby.
Now, two years later as I write this blog on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (still trying to recover from the National Annual Eatathon), it seems inconceivable to me that I ever lived without one—or without all my other portals into the cloud. In just those two years, the Networker has moved so much farther into the astounding, intimidating, magical, fearful—and now perfectly ordinary—digital universe that I’m almost unsurprised to find myself actually blogging. (True, I’m still not sure that I know exactly what a blog actually is, but no matter—I can still send one out!).
Even just two years ago, it seemed far-fetched to think that so much of what the Networker offers would be available in some form or another online—not just the magazine, but much of the Symposium, our webcasts, webinars, special interviews, video features, reading courses, audio courses, not to mention the increasingly lively—and essential—running commentary about all of it provided by the community of practitioners that sustains everything that we do. Rather than the old-fashioned print-based magazine of yore, these days I think of us as a kind of digital starship that includes anybody and everybody in the extended Networker world who wants to join in on the conversation.
With the help of technology, we have truly become something that was just an abstract conception a few years ago– a genuine, ongoing Community of Practice—a kind of town square for therapists, a meeting place where members of our special tribe could always find each other, share knowledge and insights and shop-talk.
I love the Networker magazine and the Symposium, but the fact is that a bi-monthly print offering and a once-a-year convocation of the faithful just can’t sustain the kind of expanding, multi-dimensional, learning environment therapists need today—one in which we can connect and engage in conversation about our vocation, our questions and challenges, the difficulties we meet every day in session, our good ideas (and our not-so-good ideas), our failings and successes. If you just explore all the nooks and crannies of the Networker website, you’ll see that this is not just a metaphor, a conceit, but a daily, living reality.
In a way that I could never have imagined while I was in grad school or in my early years as a therapist starved for new clinical insights, trying to track down the latest developments in psychotherapy, we have become a digital village in which a truly global conversation is only a few computer-key clicks away every day. We have some exciting plans for even further expansion of the reach and depth of that conversation in the coming year. Stay posted.