Friday, July 22, 2005

Reflective thoughts on AO Summit Chat

I agree with Steve Borsch in his post about the AlwaysOn Summit 2005 Chat - the biggest problem with the chat is that certain people (perhaps still holding bitterness over the dotcom crash, or perhaps as I suggested in my previous post they are just assholes) were behaving as if they were on the back of a high school bus with a very lenient bus driver. Identity is, more obviously now than ever, the foundation to responsible participation.

Not only did people randomly hit return to clear out the comments on screen and get their screen name to be prominent (which happened to several us of accidentally due to latency issues and command line interpretation by the client), but they were often belligerent and even stooping to making personal attacks on the clothing and hair styles of the speakers. Further, many spent so much time heckling that the good questions from the chatters (not bloggers as AO occasionally referred to us) would quickly disappear from the screen.

Tony and his team are quite sharp, and this certainly was a great experiment with many lessons learned. At the end of the conference, an AOSupport person let us know that they had captured 100 suggestions for improvement next year - I believe key among them being to require login through the AO Network in order to access the chat. This would be fantastic as we could really learn more about the people and what they were saying by checking on their profile. I must admit to feeling slightly embarrassed on the few times I actually posted my URL and often preferred to just say "go to my name dot com" - don't want to be pereceived as a spammer of some sorts.

That said, the overall chat experience for me was pretty good. By putting Insytes and ideas out there, I was able to engage with around a dozen serious (and newly found) comrades - this is in addition to who knows how many more readers and soon to be introduced friends who may have been lurking. More importantly, these ideas were seen by perhaps hundreds of my friends and other influentials in the industry who associated them to me personally. Who knows what will come from this?

Sad to say that I gained more from the chat room than some of the panels who still have tailored their talks to the VC's and slow moving industry execs that have not moved onto the edge of the 5th wave (ie Web 2.0). I for one am glad I did not spend the $2k to attend this year. From what the chatters in the audience shared - many presentations had many empty seats (but I have no confirmations on this). Too much of the information being presented was about things I already know (though you my dear reader and I have probably shared this same problem since 1st grade). There were some very poignant exceptions though, which I hope to organize over the weekend - in particular :

  • David Goldberg, VP and General Manager, Yahoo! Music

  • Marc Canter, Founder and CEO, Broadband Mechanics

  • Mark Fletcher, vice president & general manager, Bloglines at Ask Jeeves

  • Joe Kraus, Cofounder and CEO, JotSpot

  • Ross Mayfield, CEO, Social Text

  • Toni Schneider, VP, Yahoo Developer Network, Yahoo!

  • Doc Searls, Senior Editor, Linux Journal

  • Bob Sutton, Professor, Stanford University

  • Dan Gillmor, Founder, Grassroots Media Inc.

  • Rich Karlgaard, Publisher, Forbes]

  • Allen Morgan, Managing Director, Mayfield


Bottom line - chat could not have been all that bad despite those few detractors - after all, we met like minded people, discovered new ideas and Tony really made us feel as if we were a part of the conference - it really is open and participatory media! Way to go Tony Perkins!

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