Category Archives: rich records

GSA Class of ’87 20-year Reunion

My old friends from the Guildford School of Acting got together in the Union Club in Greek Street (thanks Paul!) to compare grey hairs, pot-bellies and war-stories from our marriages, divorces and other relationships. We were also honoured by the appearance of our former principal Michael Gaunt and head of first year Ian Ricketts. We had a fabulous time, which stretched into the evening when we stumbled over the road into the nearest pub.

I shot some bits of video especially for those luvvies who weren’t able to make it – I hope these give a flavour of what it was like and give you even more encouragement to come along next time.

Angus Deuchar

Paul Spyker

A bunch of folk starting with Ian Tolmie

Another bunch of folk starting with Darren Ruston

Lucy Davidson

Ian Butler

Adam Tedder (and me)

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 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.

Blogs & Social Media Forum 2

bsmf2 015I enjoyed helping out again at VNU’s second Blogs & Social Media Forum on Tuesday. I decided to twitter rather than live-blog here today. You’ll find the first one here in my twitter archive and it goes through to here 48 tweets later

I ran a (rather frenetic and noisy) speed networking session so everyone had the opportunity to spend at least 3 minutes with at least 5 new people. I then held an open space which came up with conversations on real work, monetizing social media, the dark side of social media, using it in academic situations such as teaching in a business school and what being a metaverse evangelist really means. As I was busy being challenged in the same way that Johnnie is when holding a space I only really got to take part in Euan’s conversation about real work, but others have blogged their experiences and reactions: Marie Howell, Robin Hamman, Roo Reynolds and Fiona Blamey.

Oxy-moron at the Wine Fair

Last week I spent a couple of days helping the Stormhoek guys out with their offering at the London Wine Fair. On the Thursday, I spent all day with Andrew Porton chasing round with a live video feed to a video-wall interviewing people on the stands for the official wine fair blog The first day I spent more time on my own doing much the same thing, but in a less formal way.

The first of these I’ve uploaded is unusual in that it features more of me than the peeps in the booth. You saw yesterday what I get up to in my leisure time. I thought you’d like to be reassured that it doesn’t get much better when I’m “working”. Hey, I don’t drink – I had to have some fun somehow 🙂

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

Anything by Policy Unplugged
Policy Unplugged

Chinwag Live

Second Chance TuesdaySecond Chance Tuesday

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)