Digital communication has been a part of my life since before the Internet as we know it existed. Starting in 1991 I spent a great deal of time chatting and conversing on local BBSes around my home town of Kingston, Ontario. It not only introduced my teenage self for the first time to people with very different political views, it was also the way I met both of my high-school girlfriends.
So for as long as I've been involved with scholarship, digital communication has been a part of that as well. Long exchanges with friends over a shared email list were among the ways I first got into philosophy. More official kinds of online scholarly networking were essential to my graduate career and beyond. My philosophy blog has proved a tremendous way to remain an engaged an active scholar beyond the confines of traditional academia, allowing me to develop as a thinker and a person. Through it I've had many extended scholarly conversations with people I've never even met, who live thousands of miles away.
And what gets me most excited these days is the possibility that new realms of scholarly communication will open up, making connections possible that never existed before. Randall Collins's excellent Sociology of Philosophies illustrates how most of the world's philosophical creativity took place amid locally grounded social networks. What new ideas will be possible as people become globally connected in ways they never could before? So far, both social media and open-access publishing have already offered wonderful opportunities. But I bet there will be many more. And I want to be a part of it.