train stations and (digital) tribes

When I was a kid, I had this ritual with my grandpa – he picked me up from home, we would go get croissants for me and a newspaper for him, and then we would take the tram to the train station. Towards which one of the 3 we were heading it didn’t really matter; what did was that we were together and that we would be train-watching. And people watching. This was indeed THE best thing to do, and it was perfect in every way.

I’ve always loved people watching, and I’m guessing that we all have a voyeuristic side of sorts. And I love train stations. The funny thing about train stations – they’re ‘suspended’ in time and space. Space typology is made up of temporal perspectives, and train stations usually give us a good glimpse into a city’s anatomy. Hence, we can perceive them as transition spaces, sometimes unaware of the fact that the private-public distinction lies in the eyes of the travellers.

Train stations belong to nobody, but they’re used by everybody, so their emotional charge is huge – can you even imagine? People always on the move, going places, doing things. They’re incredible, dynamic places.

Like digital spaces. They’re nobody’s and everybody’s, and if you’re lucky enough to have found your tribe, then things are pretty much great. The beauty about finding your people in this digital day and age is that you’re no longer bound by space or time to one place.

Digital train stations are all sorts of places, from Seth Godin’s Akimbo workshops (oh man, if that’s not an awesome, generous bunch of people, then I don’ know what is!) to the Do Lectures and Paul Jarvis’ Co1 to James Smith’s JSA. Which means we no longer have excuses for not going places. For not doing things.

We live in a world so utterly connected, that we sometimes forget about the possibilities that lie out there. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Who do you need to reach out to make that happen?