A few thoughts and insights on how technology can knit us together leading up to, during and after the conference…
1. Standard tagging: Through standard tagging, we can easily see each other’s content uploaded on Flickr, Blogs and elsewhere. For example, last August a Texas Forums co-hosted an event with the League of Technical Voters called We Are All Actors. People took photos that they uploaded to their own site on Flick and they wrote blogs. But no matter where they posted content, they tagged it WAAA2007. So on Flickr, you can see everyone’s photos at: http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=all&q=waaa2007&m=text. You could do the same for blogs if you tag them with Technorati tags.
2. Real time feedback: Twitter was used heavily at SXSW Interactive here in Austin to give real time feedback during sessions. I was there with a couple of colleagues and was able to see what they were doing and what they thought about the presentations they were attending. If I was in a session that wasn’t working for me, I could easily vote with my feet and go where something cool was happening. (OK presenters may not like that, but we DO want to make sure everyone gets what they want from the conference, right?) Also, you can get instant answers to questions. For example, I recently wondered (twittered, actually) about the difference between tinyurl.com and tiny.cc. within less than five minutes, I had two responses. I use twitterific so I get messages on my desktop as soon as the come in. (This is also one way I get good recipes, consumer guidance, referrals, etc.)
3. Drive traffic to blogs. I follow a very prolific blogger who writes for several blogs and a podcaster. Through the magic of microblogging (that’s what Twitter really is) I get one sentence from them along with a “tinyurl” If I’m too busy, then I can save it as a favorite.
Tom Parish tparish Posted my podcast with Dr. Nicolas Horney on “In Search of IT Agility” at EnterpriseLeadership.org http://tinyurl.com/2ukqd4
4. Lots of people prefer the microblogging of twitter. (See: http://twitter.com/Digidave/statuses/780610943) Below is snapshot of Twitterific and posting by David Cohn - someone I’ve never met, but who found me and found that we share similar interests.
5. You can send direct messages to people through twitter - much easier than e-mail AND it doesn’t clutter things up. You might think that being limited to 140 characters is a bad thing. OH NO! It’s a VERY good thing. Twitter combines the best of e-mail and instant messaging. If people don’t have computers or can’t afford the wireless (it’s not free at the Renaissance, is it?) they can still participate with their phones - there will be plenty of people with computers on hand to sign them up.
6. Spontaneous meetings. Many of the geeks I hang out with in Austin (and elsewhere) don’t make appointments. They go to a coffee shop or bar, Twitter their location and people spontaneously show up. That’s how we all found each other at SXSW. Imagine you’ve just come from a stimulating session and want to keep talking about what you learned. You post a twitter with the topic and your location and people can join you. Think “Technologically facilitated Open Space”.
7. Mobile technology: Twitter works with cell phones - both receiving and sending. No need to be online.
8. Instant updates of changes: A speaker gets sick? You’re in a room that you thought would have a flip chart, but it doesn’t? Post a notice. “Workshop A cancelled.” or “Any flip charts not being used? I could use one in Serenade Room” Response: “not using the one in Serendipity Room. Sending it over to you.” Everyone tied into Twitter is empowered to contribute to the conference.
So the real power isn’t in how many people are following you, but in how many people are connected and ABLE to connect with Twitter! I knew about the NCDD twitter NOT from this e-mail, but because Tim Bonneman twittered that he had just joined. I joined immediately, then I got this e-mail. But it took me 24 hours to respond and now I have to make a decision about where to file it! E-mail and RSS feeds are just too cumbersome any more.
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