Friday, March 09, 2007

New Communications Forum

Listening to Shel Holtz wrap up the "New Communications Forum" event in Las Vegas. By all accounts the Society for New Communications Research has put on a great show -- numerous attendees have said to me that it is the most useful and interesting conference that they have attended in years.

A few attendees, however, have said to me "gee, not much new here." An observation -- there are two kinds of attendees at this conference: a group of people eager to learn about social media and a group of people who are already engaged in inventing social media. For the first group, this was a great conference and exactly what conferences should be about -- getting enthusiastic experts in front of eager learners. But the conference didn't do as well at serving people who are already engaged and who want to take ideas and debates deeper by interacting with their peers.

This last point does not detract in any way in my mind from the value of the conference and the high quality speakers, sessions, and organization of the event. But rather, it is an observation that as an industry we still are struggling with how to create the right kind of event for experts to cooperatively advance knowledge and initiatives in their industries.

FooCamp, BarCamp, and Social Media club are good experiments, but here is a challenge to conference organizers -- can a single show serve both audiences? I would argue that it HAS to in order to work -- because you need the experts in order to have interesting content for the learners. But the experts then have to derive value from their participation.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Elimination of Time and Space

Great post by Doc Searls on what he calls "giant zero journalism" but which might be better understood by saying that the Internet is in the process of eliminating time and space as issues for journalism, get used to it.

Ostensibly the piece is about citizen journalism -- is it good, bad, or just different. But really it is about the mechanism by which the Internet as a technology disrupts existing businesses by changing the very laws of physics by which they operate.

In other words, when time and space are issues in the gathering and dissemination of a news product, the role of professionals and institutions is much more important than in the world we are moving toward... one in which every person can report instantaneously to everyone else on the thing that is right in front of our faces.

So what is the role of the professional and the institution when space and time drifts into inconsequential inconvenience rather than defining dominance for an industry? At best, it is a role that will change dramatically...

Monday, March 05, 2007

China Basin

Just walked through the China Basin building down on Berry Street (down by AT&T Park in SF). The last time I was there was in 1996 when I was working for CMP Media on a project called NetGuide Live:
"Building off NetGuide Magazine's reputation for expert information and quality delivery, CMP launched the first true guide to the Internet, NetGuide Live..."
or as we fondly called it back in 1996 "Project Gulliver." Ah, a trip through memory lane indeed. Whatever did happen to Beth Haggerty? Google says... InfoSeek, president of InfoRocket, CEO of LiveAdvice, and then it sort of runs out... Newt Barrett? SCORE Volunteer, Senior Vice President of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce... He had left CMP to buy and run Southwest Florida Business Magazine, which he apparently sold to Gulfshore Media in 2001. So many other folks from those days. Still in touch with Dan Ruby and Dan Brekke anyone else out there reading this?