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BlogWalk Amsterdam: Digital bohemians redefined

I has been unsure about the title from the start – I didn’t have enough context to place it (of course, my own fault, the whole thing was just googling away). I went to Blogwalk with Ton‘s redefinition of it:

Digital Bohemiens are (relatively) young people, fully adapted to the digital lifestyle. They see a city as their home, and are connected in European and global networks. They flock to conferences as their meeting places.

However, at the meeting Sebastian brought in the context – the term came from the book, which had much more emphasis on being lack of full-time employment than I expected

Gabriela writes pretty much on how I feel about it:

We had a sort of identity problem: we couldn’t figure out if we, as a group, belonged to that Digital Bohemians category. In the original book that inspired this title, digital bohemians are living in a metropolis(Berlin) and are freelancers. Part of us have permanent jobs (actually most of us!) – don’t we qualify?! I guess this bohemianship is more a state of mind than anything else: flocking together at such unconferences on our own expense seems to be one of the features; having a digital lifestyle, trying to keep in touch with what’s going on, being open to try new things are some of the others.

I guess most of us agree that “there is something in the air” – the nature of work is changing, boundaries (work-life, geography, etc.) are getting blurred, authorities are challenged and technology has something to do with it. Talking about “digital bohemians” is one way to address it, but I could also think of calling them mobile professionals, knowledge networkers or neo-Bedouin.

I don’t know what would be a good term (I’m not comfortable with digital bohemians since there is non-employment connotation from the book and a general feeling of alternativeness and counter-culture). I can talk about my own perspective on the ingredients of it:

  • Passion-driven and values-driven work that becomes part of life rather than separate “I work to earn money to have a roof over my head and something to eat”.
  • Flexibility in respect to work focus, time, space, tools and people to collaborate.
  • Personal responsibility. Distributed authority and decision-making.

Technology is secondary – it’s just enables more flexible and distributed way of working, but as always – it’s only what you make out of it.

Full-time employment? I’ll write another post on why I think it shouldn’t be part of the equation.

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Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2007/05/19.html#a1895; comments are here.

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