August 25, 2004

Web 2.0 Conference In October

John Battelle has organized the most delicious meetup: Web 2.0.

It's in SF, Oct 5-7 and he want's input about what might make it better. So iterate in comments!!

It's the next step in the conversation, where folks have been meeting now for some time to figure out what matters and why new technologies are important. And of course, an interesting group of folks means the hallways will be outstanding.

Mark Cuban is speaking which I'm very excited about because I haven't heard him before. But so are lots of others equally cool. The thing is, in terms of making something that puts us to the next step, gets us thinking, makes us want to go out and innovate, I think the kind of discussion that happened at Bloggercon was radical. What I mean by that is, the people in the room, all say, 200 of them stuffed into some sweaty lawschool classroom at Harvard that really seated 100 (so you know all 200 people felt it was worth it to be there) were up to speed. They didn't need to backtrack to get half the room understanding some subject before they went forward. All the people there spend lots of time reading the discussions online, they know the technologies, they see what's happening and want constructive discussion. But the discussion leader also knew where everyone was at, and where we might be pushed. So we all plowed ahead. And so when the moderator said go, we went: it was a Jay Rosen or a Rebecca McKinnen who led us through an outline, where we, the audience, were the content. They were true moderators. It wasn't about them, but rather their expert eye for ideas and content, to lead us to the next step, see something new, discover something valuable and meaningful.

I want that more. I want a room full of smart people, innovative and creative, thinking about the possibilities and the constraints: humanity, technologies both analog and digital, the old and the new, IP laws and politics, metaphors and practical realities. Maybe it's too much to ask, but I believe that we can make these discussions, and I think that John's conference has that possibility. I would love to see him take those smart people he's lined up, get them thinking about how they can use the audience and the room, to make something that takes us somewhere we haven't been before, somewhere unplanned and serindipitious. Use us, put us to work, make us be a part of it. But regardless, I'm still looking forward to the hallways. Because as has been said, theater is soup, it's the people who are art (think Andy Warhol and Lily Tomlin). And I really enjoy the people in my community.

Posted by Mary Hodder at August 25, 2004 12:16 AM | TrackBack

Mary I totally agree, of course, but you probably knew I would. I don't think it's practical to try to transform the conference into an unconference, too much has been made of the speakers, the panel, the format. However, they could probably make room for a session or two done in the unconference format. Given the influence of the people participating, that would do a lot to spread the idea to other meetings, and help hasten the demise of "audiences". It is ironic that this is perhaps the key idea of Web 2.0 (I called it Internet 3.0, two years ago) that the audience is gone. Maybe that should be the topic, WTF is Web 2.0. It's got to be more than search engines and web apps.

Posted by: Dave Winer at August 25, 2004 04:25 AM