BloggerCon II

Sunday 18 April 2004

Yesterday I attended BloggerCon II in Cambridge. It was an interesting gathering. I didn’t know quite what to expect, which was good, because the organizers didn’t either. It isn’t really a conference in the traditional sense. There are no presenters or panel, just a hundred or two attendees in a room, with a topic and a moderator, and then the discussion begins.

Dan Bricklin was there taking pictures, as he always does. One of the photos on that page is of a New York Times reporter interviewing me, but I am out of the frame!

I met lots of people, and there were lots of people I knew of that I didn’t talk to.

I’m disappointed that I wasn’t at an impromptu and poorly announced session led by John Perry Barlow.

In the end, I was a little underwhelmed, and I’m not yet sure why. Is it because I’m not a blogging-is-journalism, we’re-going-to-change-the-world, power-to-the-people kind of blogger, but just a geek looking for ways to connect to others of my ilk? Maybe it’s because blogging is inherently a personal endeavor, so a blogging conference is bound to be just a cocktail party writ large? Maybe it’s because I had a head cold!


As we discussed over lunch, the first half of the day certainly seemed to offer little in the way of excitement. There was sense in the Academic Blogging session that the centers of learning and research may be heading (ever so slowly) the way of the dinosaur due to the overwhelming resistance to the blogging media - an idea not foreign to those who have studied the nature of academia, but the group raised some interesting issues regarding the adoption of blogging amongst educators as compared students.

The Blogging as a Business session was overwhelming (where you there? the room was packed), if a tad idealistic. In a single room, seating most of the pioneers in the blogsphere (and nary a VC in sight), it was proposed how bloggers themselves would move this media into the mainstream. An energetic meeting, but what will be most impressive is if people take action.
I didn't mean to imply that the discussions were dull. Far from it. In the sessions I attended, I jumped into the discussions with gusto. I enjoyed the discussions, I just don't know how it has changed me, or my approach to blogging, or my approach to others' blogs. In some ways, the entire conference ended up being like blogging is for me: a personal endeavor, not meant to make big changes.

The Blogging as a business discussion was wonderful, as was the Power Law session. They just aren't the reasons I went into blogging. It's why I really am disappointed not to have known that "The Emotional Life of Blogs" was even happening: I would have definitely have attended, because it fits better with my own reasons for being there.

And Omer, you were one of the people I enjoyed meeting. Thanks for introducing yourself, both in person and in these comments!
Hi Ned,

We met briefly in the Power Laws session. I found my way to the Emotional Life session afterward, but I don't think anything particularly inspiring came out of that session either (although JPB is fun to listen to)...discussions about the sorts of vulnerability blogging involves and the sense that it is a sort of art were interesting, as was a brief conversation about how to deal with all of the blogs we're supposed to read. I think the crowd that attended BloggerCon had a pretty large apptetite for self-congratulation, which is maybe what you'd expect of bloggers, but makes for an uninteresting conference.... I think a few naysayers or more of a focus on fact or controversy might have helped.
"I think the crowd that attended BloggerCon had a pretty large apptetite for self-congratulation."

Glad someone else thought this.
As usual, the Wonder Chicken says it oh so much better than I can;
I put up a picture with Ned not cut out. In the actual paper NYTimes, my hand shows and the rest of me is cut out, too...

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