Settling in after some very intense days at the Always On Innovation Summit. It was a great experience, excellent networking and a different use of Social Software for events. Socialtext provided an integrated video/chat/wiki conference support system.
During the first day, wifi was frustratingly spotty, so the bulk of its use was from remote participants. High quality video streaming allowed people to listen, the BackChat allowed people to interact and the wiki to annotate. Unfortunately the lack of in-room connectivity led to less wiki collaboration and public blog posting right at the time when it usually engenders wider participation.
But the real dynamic took hold on the second day, wifi enabled, where it became part of the program. The Remote Posse and the people Blogging Always On really had an impact. The BackChat was particularly vibrant, with in-room and remote participants (from as far away as Tokyo and the Netherlands) exchanging commentary. A big font version of the chat program was projected on to the big screen, the feedback loop was complete:
- BackChat participants kept the discussion relatively high brow. They fact checked, posed questions, had side discussions that were pertainent and in general participate without denegrating into vulgarities or
- Moderators fielded questions from the chat, particularly with the open source panel
- Panel members interjected requests to respond to things on the chat and in general were kept in check from being to commercial, not revealing bias or ducking questions.
- One member of a panel noticed that people were paying more attention to the BackChat screen than the panel itself.
The golden moment was at the end of the show, when I had them project JoiTV. We caught Joi in his underwear and the heckler became the hecklee. Joi waved, we all waved back. Some folks told me that was when something clicked with them about how large the room really was. And many of the remote posse enjoyed a richer participation experience than they have had before.
You have to hand it to Tony for having the vision to run with an untested mix of video with our conference system. You also have to hand it to him for having the grace to extend blogging passes. I hope he has set a precedent for other events.
A bit on some of the folks there. Chris took great photos. Scott posted beyond the limits of connectivity. Jason had his camera phone (took a nice snapshot of me, Pete & Adina). Ev wore a blogger shirt. Dave left shortly to do other things. Adina kept it real. Esther is community. Ramana gets information flow. Richard gets biology. Zack was fully on. Edward is still settling in. Keith is into real-time people. Eric, Larry & Sergey still don't have a blog but that's okay. Dan is our hero.
Hmm, i wonder if they'd want to do this at Internet Research 4.0 this year, it looks like great fun.