12:50 AM

The Next Big Thing...

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

I had to take a break from interviewing and writing all day long so I popped down to the Ad:Tech conference downtown. But it was 7pm so all that was going on were the evening events.

I had some invites and it was a gorgeous evening in San Francisco and so I just wandered in and out of various places, content to observe and amble around.

And this is the point of this post: I can walk into any room and talk with anybody and I will walk away with a story. I like to joke with people that there are so many stories here, that I can kick over an empty soda can in the street and find a story. And it's true, and I do it time and time again.

So this evening I met the very excellent Chris Heuer, and his delightful entourage. And the wonderful thing about all of this is that there are so few people that speak this freakish pig-latin that people in the bloggerhood speak.

I certainly didn't speak it until I became a journalist blogger about a year or so ago. And at the time, I would estimate there were maybe 150 people that understood this special language...

Now, there is at least a 200 percent jump in that number. There might even be as many as 500 people that speak this language, worldwide (most are here).

And that number will not hockey stick, it will jump onto a logarithmic scale very, very soon. But in the meantime it's great to find like minded souls.

And it is so wonderful to be here, in Silicon Valley, the birth place (again!) of the next big thing. I've spent more than 20 years here, covering Silicon Valley as a reporter, looking over other people's shoulders with my notebook in hand, saying "Wow, that looks really interesting, tell me what you are doing."

Now, my colleagues in the mainstream media call me up and say "Wow, that looks really interesting, tell me what you are doing." It doesn't get any sweeter than that.

There is a new trend emerging, but it is not where you might expect it. Silicon Valley is buzzing, there is a new energy in the air, but it is not where most people think it is.

The next big thing is ... [I'll tell you if you ask me :-)

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BTW, Chris Heuer and his buddies are heading over to New Orleans next week to bring the new social/media technologies to the neighborhoods and the small businesses that anchor the city's communities. It's a real test of our collaborative media technologies; if we say these technologies are powerful change-agents then let's put them to use in the most needed areas of our society!

My focus is schools, but there are many other places that we can put these powerful and very inexpensive technologies to great use. I support what Chris and his group are doing and you can too. You can contact Chris here on his web page if you'd like to help.