Addicted to novelty since 2001

Quick Thoughts on Moose Camp

It seems like recently I’ve been writing a lot of ‘quick thoughts’ posts. I expect it’s because I’ve been extra busy, and only have time for semi-random bulleted lists of observations. Apologies, and I’ll try to improve.

Today was Moose Camp, our somewhat experimental self-organizing conference added on to Northern Voice. Here are a few early observations:

  • I need to improve the face-to-name mappings in my name. I worked the registration desk, and I probably had to ask five people their names when I should have already known them. It was horrifying.
  • Registration went smoother this year, partially because we’d learned lessons from last year, and partially because it’s distributed over two days.
  • There was a good community vibe throughout the day. The section of UBC Robson Square that we used was ideal for this sort of open model of conference.
  • I hardly attended any sessions, but I solicited lots of feedback throughout the day. My early impressions are that the sessions varied from lousy to excellent. I suppose this is what you’d expect from self-selected speakers.
  • Another recurring observation that I heard was that people would have liked more interactive sessions. We never mandated the format of the sessions–we didn’t want to be that prescriptive with Moose Camp–but we might consider doing so next year.
  • I wonder if the diversity of attendees hurts the self-organizing conference. Depending upon who was speaking and what audience participation was like, I think the level of discourse varied. Jeffrey Simpson doesn’t exactly say why it got his goat, but I think I get the basic idea when he says “devolved into arguments about technical details between the speakers and members of the audience, but it was the more abstract philosophical ones that sort of got my goat.”
  • Best joke of the day was during the wrap-up, where each speaker offered a 30-second summary of their session. Somebody (I missed who) was talking about being from the mainstream media, and how they were starting to get blogging. Then somebody else yelled from the crowd ‘let’s get him!’ and somebody else yelled ‘burn him!’. Hee hee.
  • More reaction from around the blogosphere, and zillions of photos are appearing on Flickr. This is probably my favourite: cutest volunteers ever.

As a footnote, here’s a simple but insidious example of tag spam. This asshat just looked at the most popular Flickr tags of the day and week, and associated them with his totally unrelated photo. This is why tags are a lousy kludge.

10 Responses to “Quick Thoughts on Moose Camp”

  1. Andrea

    I don’t know if you have activities scheduled for the evening or early morning, but I thought I would pass along a little tip. I’ve been teaching at Robson Square for a few months and, after leaving the conference level, I always walked out the door to the ice rink and then up the stairs or ramp to street level. I didn’t like this route because it seemed full of dark hiding places and bushes. This week, I realized you can just take the elevator up to the street and exit from the west side of the VAG. Much safer and better lit. Perhaps everyone else already knew this.

  2. Ken Rickard

    Thankfully, the lynching of the MSM guy was postponed. My wife would’ve been angry if I had died.

    Instead, I bought beer for the Drupal guys after the BBQ.

    Free beer = get out of jail free.

    But seriously, big media is learning, and the upcoming generation is going to leverage the web to create some very compelling local communities.

    I hope.

  3. Jeffery Simpson

    What specifically got my goat, was I think a general self-congradulatory attitude that a lot of the presenters gave off, and sort of the feeling that “hey we’re bloggers we’re the future, the MSM is dying.”

    Today was better, there seemed to be less of that.

    My main beef was that sure there are bloggers who could stand up alongside some of the best in the traditional media, but so very few. Posting a link to and a comment about a story of the CBC (which I do) isn’t journalism, at most its being a pundit.

    If the thesis that bloggers are going to replace the MSM is correct then everyone’s going to have to go out and start reporting and not just relying on the MSM.

    The traditonal media may not always be newspapers and terrestial TV, but there’s always going to be big corporations or collectives who have the time, money and people to do the major reporting. Only bloggers who are independetly wealthy, or get mad clicks on their Ad Sense, are going to be in a position to compete with those resources.

    It’s not impossible, but it’s rare and I just got the vibe that some people were a bit out of touch with how rare it is.

    Still you were right, second day was much better. I recomend it to anyone.

  4. Ken Rickard


    I would agree about the general atmosphere on Friday. After the first session I attended, ‘We Are the Media’ I was pretty bothered. There are huge questions that the presenter didn’t address.

    So I volunteered to fill the schedule if they needed someone. (Of course, I was up against Scoble and Windows Vista, but…)

    I think what we’ll see is a rededication of local media to do more community service work. That will be done hand in hand with bloggers, photographers, and commenters.

    My talk has been posted on my blog.

  5. Anonymous

    from the asshat. you sir have issues. thank you for pointing out the obvious.

  6. Darren

    My pleasure. You’ve highlighted an implicit shortcoming of folksonomies. Tagging depends on a kind of social contract. Unfortunatley, as you’ve demonstrated, it’s easy to break the implied rules and difficult or impossible to police.

    You could redeem yourself by removing the irrelevent tags.

  7. Anonymous

    thank you for the suggestion, as the self appointed tag police, you must take your job very seriously.

  8. Darren

    Heck, I’m just a young constable in the massive tag gestapo.

    And speaking of policing: do you see how I leave your comments up, instead of deleting them as you did to mine in Flickr?

  9. Derek

    I like that word “asshat.” And I agree about the best photo. Will is right that it would make a perfect poster for a musical.

    “Lord of the Moose Dance?”

  10. TagMan

    FYI, visited your blog after seeing Scoble’s reference to your blog title. I’ve been thinking lately about tags and wondering if “web 2.0” tags will see the same fate as search engine meta tags (meta keywords in particular). Perhaps not as they’re a bit more visible and you can hold people more accountable. Anyway, this “asshat” example cracked me up. Not sure if it points out what’s wrong with “web 2.0” tagging or what’s right, compared to meta tags. You said, “asshat.” That’s pretty cool, Beavis.

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