My friend, and brother in observing media, Ian Huckabee has a perceptive accounting of The Story So Far. He tells of his own family’s progress from a computer the size of a room to the (much more powerful) iPod, noting cultural earthquakes thus enabled.

We will all have our own patterns of how the new means affect our ends, but I find that it’s in my professional life that the effects are most pronounced. The ability to hear of new developments, to communicate new thoughts (and to have them quickly rebutted), to call up old thoughts of millions of others, has revolutionized the volume and directness of sharing musical ideas, whether theoretical or very practical.

It’s easy just to move on automatically to the next idea, the next argument, the next self-aggrandizing or humiliating revelation. But Ian, in his essay, encourages a historical perspective, and he helps us to take our own conscious inventory. We’ll need another one soon.

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crowdYou know that feeling that goes something like: “I can’t believe how lucky I am to be learning this”? I had that one a lot last week at mediabistro.com‘s amazing two-day conference (called UGCX) on user-generated content for the Web. One brilliant perception was presented after another — things that I can use in many aspects of my work to multiply its effectiveness. Of course, as in most things in life, the best ideas are based on common sense applied in a new way. Probably these breakthroughs are most dramatic in media because so much is so new and self-replenishing that all the common-sense aper├žus are always very far from being used up. And what has served one field or industry well may not even have been thought of in another where it can produce terrific results.

That guru of social media, Ian Huckabee, has written about his own reactions, and — as usually happens when I experience something beautiful — I wish many of my friends could have been there so we could rehash the smorgasbord of thrilling ideas together. As it is, I’ll just have to collar some of them and try to convey how important, and really practical, so much new thinking on the importance of user-generated content now is for social media and the causes and products it can promote. But relax: instead of falling victim to my enthusiastic rants, you can just check out this link and this one — not to mention this one — for some sample summaries of what went on, or Twitter using the hash tag #UCGX.