Category Archives: interesting2007

Carling don’t put on conferences…

interesting2007 001A fortnight now since Interesting2007 and blogging time & opportunities have been scarce (at least on my own behalf) as I’ve just started two big projects where I’m making social media for clients (which is nice). I can’t possibly link to all the lovely people I met but most of them have blogged or flickr’d already. Slide sets are starting to appear on slideshare

I did get the feeling that something shifted, nothing world-shattering, but there was a subtle changing, we’d done something differently and as a result it all, y’know, shifted.

Look it was a one-day “conference” but it wasn’t a conference like any I’ve been to and it wasn’t an un-conference in the Bloggercon or PolicyUnplugged mould and it wasn’t a seminar, workshop, showcase, gathering, conflab or conglomeration – it was definitely not a symposium or a trade-show. It was a bit of a happening, an exhibition, a show & tell, a festival of ideas. And it held my attention all through from 11am to 6pm (I did get a bit of a numb-bum towards the end, but that might have been because I was wearing too many pairs of pants.

But it was a group of (mostly) intelligent people in a hall, sitting on chairs in rows listening to other people speak, one at a time. So what made it stand out as something different?

Nothing was ever more than 20 minutes away – actually that was a lie, because my slot was more than 20 minutes away from Rhodri and his saw (thanks Roo), but I guess no-one got bored with having lunch.

No Q&As – people seemed to accept that the majority of people were not going to speak. I have never seen a good Q&A session except at political meetings. We’ve got blogs now to have our say, or not and none of the speakers were up their own arses about talking to people afterwards – that would have been absurd.

interesting2007 009Self-service – we all helped ourselves (as Russell said “we’re all grown-ups and you’ve only paid twenty quid”) but we all helped each other too. I arrived too late to help set up, but it was set up and nobody was crying or running around with scissors – and we cleared away quickly and fairly painlessly. There was no feeling (for me anyway) of separation between “organisers” and “punters” though these two did a splendid job of co-ordination. Also Russell was not “in charge” but he was definitely “in charge”.

It was on a Saturday and few people had a surname, let alone a job-title. The few collars I spotted were all open and any ties were undoubtedly ironic or accidental.

It was actually really good for me not to have wifi. I started off in recording mode as it was (I’m realising more and more that it’s one of my coping mechanisms for being thrust into large groups of people – I’ve been doing it with my camera since about 1979) but if I (and other similarly challenged folk) had the excuse to hide behind a laptop screen, we’d have had a much poorer experience.

It was village-hall-y and Festival of Britain-y and a bit arts-and-crafty and, well, just right for people who’s early life was a mix of oil-crises and moon-landings, dreaming about amazing cities in the sky with hovercrafts and no pollution and peace and smiling children and stuff.

It was hopeful.

As an experience, what was it like? Well, a bit like listening to Radio 4 all day, but with no long programmes, it was a bit like a random walk through the best bits of wikipedia, then again it was like live current.tv for people born in the ’60s & ’70s, or peeking at the RSS reader of someone really consistently smart. Does that help?

There were things I could have done with more of. More variety in presentation style, most people plumped for what we know, which is showing pictures or lists on a big screen. More music, preferably with acoustic instruments – the electroplankton quartet was a fun concept but I wish we’d made more of an effort with ukulele’s and kazoo’s. More analog, 3D art and time to really see the Folksy folk. More fun in the goody bag – I still haven’t used the shaving oil, but it was a point of “ooooh!”.

interesting2007 022So some quick ideas for “next time” – Multiple locations – eg InterestingLondon, InterestingEdinburgh, InterestingBucharest, InterestingAmsterdam with video-linkups at set-times throughout the day. Bingo (or some other communal game) perhaps also played internationally via the video-link. Some form of backchannel – the twitter feed worked nicely before and after the day – one computer with a net connection projecting the stream might be cool.

And yeah, you *did* have to be there, really.

I should be writing

I’ve so many posts that haven’t even made draft yet, just bubbling away in my head. Maybe listing them here will halp. At least it’s got me away from Pinkerton my Facebook pet Greybit. He’s less than an hour old, but at level 6 and loves fighting level 7 spiders and mantises and stuff.

Anyway, in the pipeline…

Interesting2007 (oh god, there’s a whole sub-blog of its own in there)
Events and conferences in general (following Lee’s thoughts on the subject & Johnnie’s riposte)
Facebook addiction (something about evolving and expanding objects of sociability, probably a link to Jyri)
Social Media Club (what we’ve done so far, what we’re going to do next) COME ON THURSDAY
How can I get more time to write and *talk* about what I think
Me playing my uke & singing (there have been requests)
Some of the interesting people I’ve met recently (at interesting and elsewhere)

Fingers crossed.

Photo by: tim_d (Tim Duckett)

Oooh, now that’s….

P4260083 On Monday, I was in Holborn at lunchtime and had a meeting with Russell Davies up in Islington at 2. So I fired up the ever-trusty walkit.com and found out how to walk in an efficient way from Southampton Row to Chapel Market. However, as I was hungry I ignored the initial shortcut and walked up towards Euston, turning right at Guilford Street.

A fascinating walk it was too, through streets mainly lined with slightly grubby Victorian townhouses. What I didn’t notice on the map and directions is that the route took me through Lloyd Square, WC1 in the former Borough of Finsbury, beautiful in the sunshine, but I can imagine a bit grim on a grey foggy day in a sinisterly Dickensian way.

So Lloyd (that’s me), to get to his meeting with Russell, walked from Russell Square to Lloyd Square (and a little bit further).

You couldn’t make it up (or if you did they’d probably look at you a bit funny)

Walking in an Interesting2007 way

I thought I’d add a walkit.com widget to the interesting2007 wiki like the following, but it wouldn’t work (it showed up, but threw an error when I submitted it).

I’m posting it here to see if it will work any better, but wordpress.com is sometimes funny about these things too.

If it doesn’t work, Jamie should consider this a bug report :)

Walkit.com
Enter your starting point (e.g. postcode) to get walking directions

OK, so it’s a great idea – you should get an input box that lets you put your starting point in and then search for a route to a fixed destination (in this case the Conway Hall) but it doesn’t work for me in pbwiki or wordpress.com

Bootstrapping online and offline

When I’m bragging (yes, I’m generally too modest, but occasionally it happens!) that the things I was talking feverishly about 2 years ago are now what make me a living, people often ask “So what are you talking feverishly about now” When I tell them “face-to-face ” they sometimes look a bit disappointed, but that’s really where I think the exciting stuff is going to happen in the next period.

What I’m particularly frisky about is the bootstrap effect – we’ve built a bit of a relationship online, then we enrich that relationship offline and face to face, then when we go back online it’s all been taken forward and we do more new and interesting things together… and so on… and so on… and so on….

So the must-do meatspace convergence points in my diary so far are:

NMK Forum
NMK Forum

VNU Blogs & Social Media Forum
BSMF02

Anything by Policy Unplugged
Policy Unplugged

Chinwag Live
CL

Second Chance TuesdaySecond Chance Tuesday

Interesting2007
Interesting 2007

Disclosure: each of these events is either giving me a press pass to come and blog or are paying me serious wonga for creating rich records of the day (all except for Interesting2007 for which I’d gladly pay twice the entry fee and possibly don an adult-sized romper suit – but that’s another story)