I've been working with online communities in one way or another since before the web.
After a spell as an installation artist, making light sculptures in disused factories, derelict buildings and under the M6, I discovered computers and that the really interesting projects were happening in the area of education. I joined Ultralab, Anglia Ruskin's learning technology research department and joined a small team exploring what could be done with the new technologies of multimedia ( with Director ), hypertext ( with HyperCard ) and online learning communities ( with FirstClass ).
With the arrival of the web, we built our own CMS and made tools for kids and teachers and communities to create participative web sites. I created a tool called Spinalot, which ultimately took me to work with Apple's Advanced Technology Group - making web applications that ran in browsers and on the mobile eMate device and later to create one of the largest online learning communities with Oracle, called Think.com.
In 2000 I moved to an unusually fantastic web development agency in London called the OTHER media - they even have their own university in an old Swedish prison. There I worked on community and ecommerce projects, from Delia Smith to Paul Smith and researched the then emerging fields of Information Architecture, SEO and usability.
After a spell in New Zealand, in 2006 I started my own company and worked with an eclectic variety of clients on very unusual projects, from local SMEs to LloydsTSB. I developed my own online businesses, created tools and realised ideas.
In 2009 I saw the "Collaborative Software Specialist" post at the University of York and have been here ever since, doing what I've always done, looking for creative and appropriate ways of using technology and helping others to likewise.