John: my story, or part of it


Meet John, our lead community manager


For me the virtual world is always just an extension of ‘real life’…above here is a photo of my little ranch on the redwood coast (biggest trees are 40 meters tall).

I’m here obviously to do this training, but I am also here because this is a subject that I care about deeply, as everyone should. The rise of populism in the USA is strong and may or may not be continuing to rise. A couple of years ago I would have said for sure it was on the rise, but there is now a kind of backlash going on that is represented by the most recent national election. I think the result more accurately reflects the true mood of the nation as a whole. However, populist sentiment and loyalty is extremely strong and tenacious and they do essentially control the executive branch of the government, the Senate and some members of the US Supreme Court. I think it is also worth noting that many of those with right-wing populist sentiments are also often climate change deniers. Thus, right at the time when humanity most needs to lay down armed conflict and collectively figure out how we can avoid or mitigate a climate catastrophe, millions of Americans refuse to see it as a problem and instead focus their anger on refugees and border issues that, until Trump came along, were not broadly seen as particularly bad problems compared to others. I think European society has a great opportunity to lead us all out of this wilderness. So, along with wanting more people to learn how to develop and manage meaningful communities, I feel I have a personal stake in all of this even though I live in North America. And I have grown children and several grandchildren. So I naturally worry about what kind of world I am leaving for them.

I’m interested in a lot of things personally that are unrelated to world problems, probably too much to list here. Music, film, nature and taking care of the little ranch where I live on the northern coast of California. And I have a pretty big family (wife, 4 kids, 2 step kids, 7 grandchildren) who live nearby and depend on me for various kinds of love and care, including my 93 year old mother whose care is my responsibility.

I struggle with being so far away from my colleagues sometimes, even though we are networking professionals who are comfortable with living and working long distance via networked computers. Even though I teach online community work, and have a long history of doing it myself, I emphasize the importance of physical contact. Not just for people who are relatively new to online communications that perhaps have more depth than common social networks, but for myself as well.

I also struggle with my health. though it is good right now, I am a recent cancer survivor and that reality dictates much of my life now. And at my age, I know most of my life is behind me and yet I never want to think that my best work is behind me. My work with Edgeryders makes me happy, but I struggle to keep up with them sometimes…for me there has always been a tension between being active and reflective, or work vs hanging out…