Searcy is a little town a bit more than an hour from here. I've been there exactly once, when I officiated at a wedding of two former students a few years back. Noel briefly lived there when he was a lad, just before his parents' divorce (creating negative impressions of Arkansas that caused him to have misgivings about the prospect of my taking this job).
Tomorrow I'm going to Searcy because it's the home of Harding University. A student group there, HUmanity, has been involved in some interesting initiatives with cutting-edge thought, breaking free of the generally conservative character associated with this private Christian school. They've organized a day-long conference on social networking called Brave New Media.
One of my colleagues has worked with these students over the past couple of years, and when he heard about the topic of the conference, he suggested me as a participant. I agreed to do a classroom session on the relationship of online social networks to the creation of material goods.
The free conference is tomorrow starting at 10 am in Cone Chapel. Casey Neese (social media manager for Heifer International), Alex Cone (online branding for New York City Charter School Center), and Keith Crawford (network engineering and founder of Arkansas Tweetup) are providing the keynotes. I'm looking forward to spending the day with these folks, having some good conversations, and finding out the kind of thinking they do up there in Searcy.