on Pubcamp and joining the darkside

24 June, 2008

I went down to check out Melbourne Pubcamp 08 yesterday, it proved to be an interesting experience on a couple of fronts.

First I caved and joined Twitter (micktleyden), the appeal of watching and potentially joining the back channel twitterstream was just a bit too tempting. I’m on there now and I must admit I am not sure what to do. I think I’ll play around for a couple of weeks and see what I can come up with .

Second, Pubcamp was really focused on the ‘media’ side of social media. There was a lot of discussion around the role of ‘old’ media in ‘new’ media. Being someone who spends all their time looking at social media from a learning or enterprise collaboration perspective, I found it a little difficult to connect with much of the discussion. It was still interesting to watch and listen.

The formal conference session was broken into several ‘bite sized’ presentations. Before I go on I would like to provide one piece of advice to anyone presenting a 5 – 10 minute session:

Take your 20 – 30 minute session and delete half of it! Do not just try to say it faster!!!

Here are some bits I found interesting from a few of the presenters:

Jed White kicked off the session, he spoke about the interesting paradox we encounter more and more frequently, we can be physically isolated in a crowd of people yet hyper-connected via a mobile device. He gave the example of sitting on a silent crowded train, tapping away on a laptop or PDA…

Stephen Collins filled the keynote role and spoke very quickly about the value of loose ties in a network. I think main guts of the presentation was that loose ties (defined as ‘loose’ connections with people e.g. those connected to via blogs or twitter) act as a bridge between different closely tied networks. He argues that this can support problem solving as closely tied networks are prone to group think. Bringing a loosly tied contact into a situation can provide a fresh perspective and connect the network with other contacts who may be helpful.

Mark Jones spoke about the value of social media in creating a soft persona for an organisation citing Robert Scoble (MS) and Jonathon Schwartz (Sun) as examples.

Janine Cahill spoke about future directions and talked up virtual worlds. She did point out that they will evolve and become more usable and immersive.

There were a bunch of other presenters mostly talking about journalism and advertising. All in all it was a pretty interesting experience. I didn’t hang around for the unconference segment, so I’ll be keen to hear from other participants.

As for twitter, not sure how it will go for me but it was fun sending messages to the screen behind the discussion panel. A final question to put out there is whether presenters should engage with the twitterstream during their presentations. There are arguments for and against but we will definitely see more presenters attempt to do so.

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