The Whuffie Project


The latest Powered by Geek project isn’t a web application. It is a look into the process of turning a knowledgeable developer with no social footprint into a well connected social dynamo.  The first developer enjoying the luxury of this transformation is me, Dan Ahern.

This project is called and it is architected and executed by a group of the PBG team : Michael, Lynn, and myself.

If you are not familiar with the term Whuffie, don’t be ashamed, I
wasn’t either. In Cory Doctorow’s book Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, he defines Whuffie as social capital, or reputation.  The Whuffie Project’s goal is to help me build up my reputation to the point at which the people who matter in my world know who I am as much as I know who they are.

I’ve been chosen for our maiden voyage for a few reasons :

1. I am engrossed in the social media landscape.  I specialize in digesting content from social media sites and processing it new and useful ways.
2. I want this.  I want to be more involved with the community that I love.  I want to be recognized for the work I’m doing in the community, and I want to be involved in the direction of the web.  I have talent, I have good ideas, and I believe that I can make the
world a better place through my work with social media.
3. I take direction well.  I have a sincere willingness to do whatever Michael, Lynn or the Internet at large have in mind to build social capital.

We recently did a preliminary interview between Lynn and myself regarding our expectations for The Whuffie Project, and discussed paths that I may follow in the beginning to achieve my goal.

Our first step is to introduce Dan Ahern to the web, officially.

I have been a Ruby on Rails developer for 3 years. I originally began my programming career working on a compiled (c++) cgi binary at the company where I met Lynn Wallenstein.  I had a natural affinity for procedural thought and problem solving, and in the years following I experimented with other programming languages like PHP and Python.  These are powerful languages, but they lacked the elegance and ease of use that I was searching for.  After a long conversation with Lynn, we decided on a new landscape: Ruby on Rails.  Since falling in love with the language, and falling back in love with programming, I’ve tamed Ruby to build social media sites LongTimeLost, iStalkr, Playericious and Kiobo.  I have contracted for major firms in the Ruby community like FiveRuns, and I’ve been involved in cutting edge work with social media APIs and other creative web services.