All in all this was a great unconference. The crowd was fun and engaged, the wifi was fast and the conversations were great. The overall take-away was that with Bloggercon, like blogging or participating in any event, you get out of it what you put into it. Unlike conferences where you veg out and then do all your talking in the backchannel or the lobby we were engaged _the whole time_.
The Discussion Leaders did a great job starting things off and keeping them going. Dave Winer organized the conference (with help from Sylvia Paul, CNet and a ton of others), Doc Searls saved us all from carpal tunnel as the technographer (recording the discussions in OPML), the CNET/Jake Luddington team kicked butt on the stream/ MP3 version of the event and Kevin Marks provided video for the different sessions he attended.
I am putting together a compilation of links (mp3, video, transcript) below. It would be cool if you could have a timestamp associated with the opml technography file (I do not think this is built into OPML – not required but more like a nice to have). This would enable you to synch up the audio/IRC/technograph of the event (if you even wanted to).
Unconferences are more free form and open. Fewer rules, but also more participation (and direction from the assembled – see when Dave asked us to vote on whether or not).
Day 1 Notes:
National Anthem (Dave’s kickoff)
We started with the groundrules of Bloggercon and what was expected (Its a conference FOR users BY users – no product pitches, no shilling, everyone is a participant, no audience, discussions shouldnt be too technical, everything is _on the record_)
A tradition at Bloggercon is a song at the beginning. This year we opened the conference with the Hokey Pokey.
Tools with Phil Torrone
I actually missed most of this session due to a client conference call – here are the highlights from the notes (thanks again Doc!):
Phil is a Senior Editor at MAKE Magazine and writes How-To’s (I also think he used to work with the guys at Engadget). He did a great job last year at Gnomedex (during the conference and at the Friday night party) giving presentations and demos between the panels. During his session he and the crowd discuss screencasts and their value to users. The discussion went from hardware to training to software. Buzz Bruggeman discussed how he spoke with a law firm about Wikis and how the law firm didnt get it – the firm didnt really want the lawyers sharing data amongst themselves. We then were discussing the kinds of tools folks are using for recording and editing podcasts (hardware and software).
Citizen Journalism with Jay Rosen
Jay Rosen is an author and professor of journalism at NYU. His personal blog is Pressthink.org. His bullet points for the presentation are here:
The main thrust of Jay’s presentation was: How do we actually do “Users know more than we do” journalism and break news with it, proving that social networks can provide kickass reporting?
Discussion covers collaborating with the readers, how the MSM is traditionally top-down. Ken Sands from a newspaper in Portland discusses how his paper has brought bloggers onto the team, podcasts from the editorial meeting, gets more horizontal and less vertical. Discussions about how the Wikipedia model, while not perfect is ‘helpful’. Also the issue of credit came up, and recognition of the role/support/contribution bloggers are making to the news process. Doc asks that the newspaper industry as a whole open their archives – its like a wikipedia over time, not another revenue stream. Discussions over how a story today is different, how it lives beyond its published date. How it is bigger than just the person writing the stories because _all_ of the perspectives have a stake.
Users In Charge with Chris Pirillo
Chris is the founder of Lockegnome, used to be a host of the Screensavers (damn you G4-surrender-monkeys) and runs my favorite conference Gnomedex. His discussion was about the user (you, me, my mom). His stance: “you have as much right to contribute to the product or service as the development team. Are you taking advantage of that right, that position?”
We talk about how sometimes we dont express our frustrations to developers to our ownwordpress or firefox). detriment (or because we dont want to criticize). We need to both call them out when we have a problem and we also need to evangelize when we find something we like (like
We then got into a discussion about user data, and what Lisa Williams calls “Roach Motels”. Users want their data, even if they might not be able to do anything with it – its giving them the choice/trusting them/having a relationship with users. We need to have a greater connection between users and developers (Dave Winer’s old saying – Users and Developers Partying Together).
We get into some discussions over blogging tools and software problems. Discuss the needs for users to be more vocal, more demanding. We get into a discussion of platform lock-in (iTunes and the iPod), Jay Rosen points out how MS dropped the ball with IE and tabs in the browser.
Bloggercon is run like a clock and this session ends on time.
Standards For Users with Nial Kennedy
Nial Kennedy, ex-technorati, now-Microsoft employee lead the discussion on Standards for Users. This is meant as a discussion of what standards are, things we hate about standards, the things that we love about standards and what kinds of things that need to be standardized.
Emotional Life with Lisa Williams
Lisa Williams has been blogging since 2000 and her discussion is about why people blog, whats the most personal thing members of the conference have ever blogged and the best personal experience the other attendees have had.
Some folks talk about Blogging as something that goes with their career. Terry Heaton, who consults for local TV stations on how to collaborate with their communiteis in social media efforts, talks about finding his wife dead, and how he blogged about it and how it affected him, and the response he got from the folks who know him in the blogosphere. He points out that blogging is a social phenomenon more than a technological one.
Chris Pirillo talks about he has led a pretty public and bloggish life (even before blogging was popular), and how when his marriage broke up, he took heat for it thorugh his blog (from his readers).
Others talk about how Blogging, while part of their life, is compartmentalized — they do it for work, or as their passion and dont let other aspects of their life get involved. Some dont talk about their families, or _only_ talk about their families. Doc discusses how when he ‘came out’ as a pacifist, he took a ton of personal attacks (up to maybe including stalking). He has since stopped discussing politics/pacificism for his own piece of mind. Nial discusses how he has stopped talking about members of his family on his blog.
Lisa discusses the rules she follows: “Dont blog what you dont own” – living up to the trust you have in your family and vice versa.
Some discussion of the darker side of blogging. Getting people in trouble. “Pre-firing” yourself for positions taken on your blog. “Permanent Record” and the google cache are mentioned as well as potential lawsuits which might result from what you have written.
Jay Rosen talks about how he doesnt blog about personal issues, but there is still a huge emotional aspect of blogging. He calls it his “little first amendment machine”.
Dave Winer calls it the “unedited voice of a person”.
Doc compares blogging to a snowball – once it starts rolling downhill it continues to grow – and once you let it go it is no longer yours.
Doc wants to know how we are going to change the world.
Chris Pirillo talks about empowering users – how he has an idea for Freedbacking.com – Free Feedback for everyone.
Kevin Marks discusses microformats. How they can free our data, and make it easier to protect and share.
Terry Heaton talks about how there is a sense that the institutions of our cultures have failed. We should be looking to building new things – not rebuilding these old institutions.
WIll Pate thinks these objects that we are talking about – RSS, blogging, video blogging need to get 500% less geeky. We are raising barriers with the geekspeak.
Haftime Show with Dave Winer
Dave discusses how developing software is hard. And how sometimes we put the people who develop the software on pedestals. Dave asks the developers in the room what they are looking for from users – what kind of feedback, what kind of loops.
We get into a discussion of jargon and language. How sometimes we use jargon as a kind of code to keep those out of the know. The ‘priesthood’ of development doesnt want to be transparent – like medicine, advertising or religion. We wrap what we do and say is words that are indecipherable to the layman. Sometimes on purpose. Sometimes by accident (or happy accident).
What happens when the people in the street figure it out – part of what we need to do is foster, encourage more transparency.
How to Make Money with John Palfrey
John Palfrey is a professor at Harvard Law and the Director of the Berkman Center – focusing on internet law, intellectual property and the power of technology to strengthen democracies. John’s entire presentation is about making money with blogging, whether it is direct revenue (advertising or sponsorship) or indirectly (improving a consulting career, connecting with new clients, getting a book deal, etc.).
We discuss making money on a hyper-local basis (big part of the conversation – both local blogs, local advertising and connecting with local businesses). Making money for non-profits. Making money on affiliate marketing deals, etc.
Building Bridges with Elisa Camahort
Elisa is a blogger and founder of BlogHer. Her discussion was about building bridges – specifically in the blogging community and conference system. There are tons of great women bloggers and speakers out there, and how do we get more of them into the system.
Discuss how blogging and conferences like Gnomedex, Bloggercon, BlogHer didnt exist a couple of years ago. We talk about how Mary Hodder, after a conference last year, set up a Wiki for women speakers (to communicate to the conference community – there are women out here and they are great for panels, etc.). Part of the discussion was about how women speakers need to get out there and let people know they exist.
Blog her is a big step towards all of that.
2008 Election with Lance Knobel
Lance discusses politics (non partisan, although there were a lot of examples used from the Dem election in 2004) and how blogging/social media can help/harm/enhance.
Video Blogging with Ryanne
Ryanne did a tremendous job discussing Video Blogging (vlogging) both from a high level and from a nitty gritty, tools perspective.
Fat Man Sings with Dave Winer
Dave Winer closes BloggerconIV with a discussion of the success of this year vs. past years. Dave discusses the fact that he will quit blogging this year – maybe do something new, maybe write a book. There is some discussion of what Bloggercon V would look like. We discuss how in the beginning there were blogs (text), moblogs (mobile blogs via wireless handsets w/ cams, etc.), podcasts (audio) and now vlogs (video).
This event rocked. The room was energized, the discussions were great. The crowd was totally welcoming, and I got to hang out with a bunch of people who I see every day in my aggregator.
Flickr Feed for BloggerconIV
Flickr Feed for Bloggercon