I attended digiday last week in New York (great stuff, more to come) but the thing that struck me the most was that a real, live social network played itself out in front of me. The dictionary defines network as: an association of individuals having a common interest, formed to provide mutual assistance, helpful information, or the like:- I think everyone gets that - but here’s the thing - digiday was a social network about social networking. Now before the universe implodes or you say ’so what?’ - what really struck me was the diversity of the people who shared this passion. I guess I sort of new it - but it was eye-opening to watch it in person. We had three-pieces suits sitting next to jeans and t-shirts. People sitting on panels having great, involved discussions who were from major motor companies and large agencies to start up developer shops and those only thinking about how to track social media. Large “traditional” publishers (though not many) next to one-man publishing machines. It crystallized for me how the Internet has allowed the introverts to be extroverted and the extroverted to go crazy. People brought together by a passion (in this case it was the “idea” of social media) but could not be from more diverse backgrounds. That’s why you find a 20-post thread about coldsores on catlovers.com and why the guy in front of me at the lunch buffet who looked liked my college roommate in sweats and Chuck Taylor’s was hugging the young woman who looked like she just stepped out of Project Runway and were extolling the virtues of Twitter and who they were following. The thing about social media (and this conference brought it to life) is that it’s the passions and interest of people that bring them together - bond them. Not everyone looked the same at digiday - and not everyone looks the same on catlovers.com - I think we sometimes forget that.