Well, it sounds like Northern Voice 2008 was another success. I watched via various dodgy video streams and a Skype back channel (I wasn’t the only one watching from afar). I also participated in a streaming (hmm…more of a trickling) video chat as part of our experimental ‘ask an expert’ booth. That’s where I took my only photo at the conference:
That’s actually not particularly different than other conferences–I’m usually too preoccupied to take photos.
In checking out reactions on the web, I was struck by how (it seemed to me, at least) there were fewer blog posts about the conference. A few bloggy wrap-ups that I did find: Boris, Rebecca, Kate, Mack and I’m sure others will pop up.
The Balkanization of the Social Media Sphere
I don’t think less web content is being made, it’s just appearing on a lot of other arms of the starfish. There’s more audio, video, microblog posts, streaming video, IM chat, Facebook and maybe less traditional blogging. You need only look at this year’s schedule to see how the 2005 ‘blogging conference’ has evolved into a 2008 ‘social media conference’. I might bemoan the loss of thoughtful analysis a little, but otherwise that’s just the way of things.
I do bemoan the lack of tools to find and aggregate all that ‘stuff’ in one place. I have to visit an increasing number of locations to feel confident that I’ve seen most of what’s been produced. Technorati and their brethren have not kept pace with this divergence and balkanization of the social media sphere.
Speaking of media, I’m always amazed by how many photos get generated over two and a half days. I decided to see how that number had changed over the past four years. Here, according to me and Flickr’s best guess, are the totals for each year:
And who doesn’t love a chart? Click for larger version.
The number of photos seems to map pretty much directly to the number of attendees.
Making the Conference More Noob-Friendly
We try new things every year. Many of these are aimed at making the conference more noob-friendly. This year we ran the Internet Bootcamp as an alternative stream on Friday, and set up an ‘Ask the Expert’ booth on Saturday. I gather the booth didn’t work so well. It’s also my instinct that the bootcamp ought to be on the Saturday, as that’s when we get more of the toe-dipping folks. I forget why, but that wasn’t viable this year.
And even though I only understood around 1/4 of the words that came out of the speakers mouth, that 1/4 was sort of fun, and it was a fun feeling. Like I was a little kid playing dress up and somehow I passed for the real thing. I mean, I am a blogger, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a blogger by default. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know ANY of the lingo. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what software IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m using. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what streaming is or if IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d like to do it. I DID know enough to laugh at the joke about pooh. So thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something.
I particularly like how she spelled ‘pooh’ with an ‘h’. Or was she referring to Winnie?
We set up a post-mortem feedback page on the wiki, and we’ll probably send out a more formal survey in the coming weeks. If you didn’t attend this year, but want to be notified if and when we announce Northern Voice 2009, you can give us your email address here. If you did attend this year’s conference, we’ll definitely email you, so there’s no need to sign up.