As we hit the summer of 2013, it dawned on me this is the 20th anniversary of a national conference I helped organize in the summer of 1993. The National Asian Indian Sammelan in Dayton, Ohio was a conference for young Asian Indian American adults, mostly age 18-34, exploring professional, personal, and life issues that this coming of age group was beginning to face. Generally, the audience of this conference was second generation Americans, whose parents had immigrated to the US in the 1960’s and 1970’s. This group was often the first set of young Asian Indian Americans who had been born and raised in the US, were recent high school or college graduates, and were beginning to face critical decisions such as career choice and marriage options.
While I certainly have some memories of the event, I can’t remember all of the details such as the names of some of the distinguished speakers, the facilitator leaders, and the full span of workshop topics. So, with most things one wants to learn more about in this era of the Internet, I did a search on Google. Much to my surprise, there is not a single search result that showed up for this event! Of course, there wasn’t a pervasive Internet in 1993 when the event happened, but it seems most everything even prior to the world wide web has some archive stored on the Internet. Shouldn’t there be an electronic copy of the program or a list of speakers somewhere on the web? Wouldn’t a few of the speakers have the conference listed by their name on their Linkedin profile or online bio that shows up in a search result? Unfortunately and disappointingly, the answer appears to be no.
This made me think of the proverbial cliche: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound”? Likewise, if an event has no record of it on the Internet, could it actually of happened? Well, of course, I know it in fact happened, but in this day and age, I bet I’d have trouble convincing that to some folks who don’t know of the event and would rely fully on the Internet for confirmation.
And furthermore, when thinking of the event itself, it seems almost inconceivable that such an event could have even been organized without the Internet. Today, the outreach to prospective speakers, recruitment of attendees to the event, and interaction with vendors, venue, and city leaders would all be heavily reliant on the Internet. The organization of the event itself by the dispersed conference committee would have have utilized the Internet for communication, tracking progress of tasks, and even for selecting and playing the music used at the event.
The pervasiveness of today’s Internet is certainly reinforced when thinking of this event. Given that pervasiveness, I’ve got one ulterior motive in writing this post, establishing a permanent record in the search engines of the event, the National Asian Indian Sammelan, Dayton, Ohio, 1993. Hopefully, soon after this post is written, no one else can write a post suggesting no record of the event!