Seth Horwitz: Community Champion

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Net2 Philly and Seth Horwitz quote

Seth Horwitz is stepping back (but not retiring!) from his leadership of Philly NetSquared, which means this is a great time to acknowledge his huge contributions to the NetSquared community.

In pure numbers we’re talking about 73 events with 2,203 attendees. His first event was in May 2008 featuring the campaigning work of Friends for Peace and the Genocide Intervention Network. Philly has been going strong ever since under Seth’s stewardship, and they’ve introduced several new event formats to NetSquared, including Crowdsourcing Change.

On a more personal level Seth’s influence is a major reason why I’m currently in my role as the NetSquared Community Manager. I had been organizing Vancouver’s Net Tuesday group (as it was then called) for less than a year when I was invited to the N2Y4 conference where I met Seth during a gathering of NetSquared organizers. Philly’s co-organizers Seth and Ivan impressed me tremendously and they opened my eyes up to the full possibility of how a NetSquared group could be the hub of a thriving nonprofit tech community. They seemed to really have it together, and I’ve been chasing after them ever since!

Seth continues to be a skilled community organizer, having recently recruited an active team of co-organizers to assist him in planning Philly’s events. He’s shown strong leadership, but also been welcoming and open to the contributions of others. :-)

Please join me in thanking Seth for his contributions to the NetSquared community! I can’t wait to see what he and the Philly team do next (so that I can steal their great ideas and share them with the rest of the network!)

I’d love to leave off with Seth’s story of how he first got involved with NetSquared:

How I Become a NetSquared Organizer

The Story of an Old Fart

I became turned on to (and profoundly changed by) the idea of social networking back in the late 70’s, where I coordinated the Free University at Penn State, in which anyone (town or gown) could teach a course in anything. In the early 80’s, my partner Stan and I wrote a newsletter called Other Networks, which was all about various sorts of social networks (pre-web). It’s archived here: And after getting a library degree, I started a “learning network” in a suburban public library in the mid–80’s, in which people’s interests and offers to teach were interfiled into the library’s card catalog. But during all that time, I felt like a lone voice in the woods. Lots of people thought these sorts of things were “nice”, but very few saw their profound potential.

Fast forward 25 years, and suddenly, and we’re all caught up in the social networking tsunami. I happened to hear a podcast of a Net Tuesday event from San Francisco, and it felt like I’d come home. But it was a strange home, with a fast-changing landscape that was hard to keep up with. I wanted to find a place in that world, and a context in which to make sense of it. So, I contacted Britt Barvo, who was the NetSquared community organizer at the time to find out what was happening in Philly, and got the (not surprising) answer, “Nothing yet. You want to start something?”. She put me in touch with Ivan Boothe (who had been involved in NetSquared in D.C, and had just moved to Philly), and we gathered together a handful of folks who wanted to start this sort of thing in Philly. That was 5 years ago, and it’s been a great ride. I’ve met a lot of great people, learned a lot and feel at home.