This week Manhattan celebrates "Internet Week." Seven-days of non-stop festivities best described as a greatly delayed debutante ball for the digital super geek.
"Delayed" because New York's tech scene has been thriving alongside the Bay Area and Silicon Valley for years without its well-deserved recognition.
"Debutante" because the aggregation of this week's diverse activities feel like a competing series of formal and informal coming out parties for the diverse segments of the community (from the youthful flip-flop wearing interns to the more experienced and sometimes sophisticated VCs).
Like the diversity that characterizes New York's cultural landscape, there's nothing homogeneous or purely central about this quirky celebration. I raised my own eyebrows looking over the (still-growing) list of activities, which include (but are by no means limited to):
* a breakfast meeting titled, "Shifting the Paradigm: Young Women with Cool Jobs Making a Difference in Digital Media and beyond"
* an exclusive invite-only Founders Club
* the cult-classic science-as-art Make Magazine's Maker Faire
* Techset sunset cocktails, a glam-geek rooftop affair in the Meatpacking District hosted by Stephanie Agresta (InternetGeekGirl) and Brian Solis (bub.blicio.us and PR 2.0)
* a bad-boy Thrillist party (think Maxim meets web) at Hiro Ballroom
And, all of these events run into one another, are held across all areas of the city, and by people who come from different backgrounds, but everyone working to make Internet Week a success as a volunteer, marketer, or free-drink-loving participant shares a passion for developing the emerging technology that changes our lives daily.
Sure, if you follow web celebs, you might seek out superstars like Digg's Kevin Rose at Diggnation Live, but I recommend that if you attend the events or read up on the coverage that you seek out and get to know some other rising stars:
Brett Petersel, East Coast director of events and sponsorships at Mashable and co-founder of NextWeb New York
There are also a number of panels and a few mini-conferences to be sure, but the true heart and soul of this week is the opportunity for offline interactions and discovery of like-minded, brilliant, diverse people changing the world one pixel, line of code, and one idea at a time.
Everything seems to be ready, let's just hope that someone's minding the internet this week.