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You can look at my home page for more information, but the short answer is that I'm a dilettante who likes thinking about a variety of subjects. I like to think of myself as a systems-level thinker, more concerned with the big picture than with the details. Current interests include politics, community formation, and social interface design. Plus books, of course.

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Sun, 07 Nov 2004

BloggerCon writeup
Quick update. I went to the Accelerating Change conference this weekend. I also went to BloggerCon on Saturday. I'd been waitlisted at BloggerCon, but got in last week, and since the two conferences were a 5 minute walk apart at Stanford, I decided to try to cherry-pick the best of both worlds. I think I did okay, with some judicious running around.

I'll try to do a full writeup of Accelerating Change at some point, with all of my notes and quotes and everything. But I'm pretty busy this week (couple deadlines at work), so it may not be until next weekend. My notes from BloggerCon were pretty brief, though, so I'll put them up now.

I attended the first and last sessions, the journalism session and the election session. The journalism session was the most interesting from my perspective, even though it eventually degraded into a "Are bloggers journalists or not?" debate, especially when the folks from the AP and CBS chimed in.

Some thoughts I took away from it:

The election session was a bit of a disappointment. Although Ed Cone, the discussion leader, tried to keep it from turning into a shared disappointment-fest, he wasn't entirely successful. It was also interesting how few suggestions I heard that I thought would make a difference in increasing the usefulness of blogging. The main point people made was that e-mail was, by far, the most useful networking tool of this election (and my experiences in Ohio bear that out). So what do blogs have to offer? Somebody made the point that we should be using blogs as a chance to engage people different from us, rather than sitting in the liberal echo chamber. Jay Rosen suggested that candidates should be blogging themselves to get their personal voice out there (although I think that might be difficult to reconcile with keeping a consistent message). Lots to think about. I especially want to spend some more time thinking about the use of blogs as a tool for inviting dialogue with people we don't agree with. Not sure where to even begin with that.

The first and last sessions were pretty uneventful, so that's pretty much my report. I stopped by the Larry Lessig discussion on law and blogging because I think he's cool, but it didn't really do much for me, and there was another presentation at Accelerating Change that I really wanted to see.

General thoughts. The "unconference" format was a little bit odd. Because the discussion leader had a microphone and everybody else had to wait in line for one, the power dynamic didn't lend itself to a real sharing of ideas I felt. In a couple sessions I attended, the dialogue got off into a thread that I thought was pretty uninteresting, but there wasn't really a mechanism for shutting it down and starting a new thread. I almost felt that it'd be better if the first part of each session were a brainstorming of topics and then the room could be split up into people that wanted to follow each topic, with people being free to float from one topic to another. But, then again, I'm a generalist and prefer skimming.

Neat idea overall, though. I'm glad I stopped by. It was kind of neat to see some of the powerhouse bloggers in person (I think two or three of the bloggers who blogged the national conventions were there - Dave Winer and Doc Searls for sure). And interesting to hear some of the different perspectives on blogging from people who are a lot more into it than I am.

posted at: 20:09 by Eric Nehrlich | path: /journal/events | permanent link to this entry | Comment on livejournal