Who is Josiah Ritchie?

The Past

One of my Mom's favorite stories to tell about me and technology explains how she used the email system I setup in our home network to call me to dinner. I have 8 years of experience working in small and mid sized non-profit technology. This has given me the opportunity to gain knowledge on a wide variety of technology from network administration to website development and system administration. I learned long ago that my greatest strength wasn't what I knew, but that I knew how to find out and learn what I needed to know quickly.

The Present

I have a passion for the appropriate use of technology to reconnect a world that has fallen away from personal relationships. I'm convinced that the Internet can not replace relationships, but technology can be used to enhance and reconnect people caught up in the business of life. This can be accomplished by using short periods of down time to come together in ways that have never before been practical.

Perhaps you've see the TV commercial. As Dad packs for a business trip, his daughter slips her precious friend, a stuffed monkey, into his luggage. Dad sees an opportunity to share the fun elements of his experience with his daughter through the magic of picture messaging. Pictures of the monkey by the empire state building, on boats, out to dinner and so forth stream in to the family through out Dad's absence. It's not like he's really at home, but clearly it's fun to maintain the connection. As Dad returns home, the family reunites happily having missed him, but the sharpness of not having Dad around was reduced by his thoughtful gift of inclusion through picture messaging.

I've spent nearly half my life exploring what community on the Internet and through technology looked like. I've become aware of its strengths and weaknesses. I know the effort it takes to truly build a community even among those who expect it. I've also spent time working in low-tech environments. I've been behind the sticks of a bull dozer and learned to drive behind the wheel of a small dump truck. I've not only seen, but experienced both sides of the digital divide and have thought deeply and often about how they can compliment each other.

The Future

Our culture is going through some massive changes in how we relate to each other. In many ways it is equivalent to the change that came with a technology known as the printing press. Along with this change comes the typical fears and concerns. I'd like to be one of the guys who helps bridge the gap between the generation of "digital natives" and the generation of "digital immigrants". I have a unique perspective on both sides of this gap and I'd like to act as a mediator between those who are growing up expecting this technology and those who see technology as contrary to relationship building.

I'd Like To Share...

I count openness and the freedom of information among my strongest values. I'd be glad to talk with you specifically about how this change of culture can affect your organization. If you'd like to read more, come check out the blog. I'll be exploring these ideas and others more deeply over there on a regular basis.

Josiah's Picture