Northern Voice 2007

Post ImageFebruary is one of my favorite months of the year. It’s short, classes stop for an entire week, and in Vancouver there’s a great little event called Northern Voice. The 2007 edition of the conference was announced a while ago, and today I see that registration is officially open:

Frankly, all of us Northern Voice organizers have gotten behind the eight-ball a bit on this years conference. We all keep getting busier-we’re approaching some kind of busyness event horizon where we’ll just cease to exist. Regardless, our ducks are back in a row.

Such an honest group! In addition to opening registration, they have extended the speaker submission to Friday, December 1st. If you’d like to register for Northern Voice, you can do so here.

Read: Northern Voice

Off to Vancouver

As I mentioned yesterday, Dickson and I are in Vancouver all day tomorrow for the Angel Forum. Our flight leaves tonight at around 7 PM and we’re back tomorrow evening close to midnight. Very quick trip indeed.

Now that Northern Voice 2007 has been announced, it looks like this trip will be the first of many to Vancouver over the next few months! Not to be outdone on the other side of Canada, Mesh 2007 has been announced for May in Toronto. Lots of excellent Canadian conferences to attend!

Northern Voice 2006 Finished!

Post ImageThe conference ended almost six hours ago now, but we just got back from dinner. We went to Moxies with Robert Scoble, Maryam, Rob Greenlee, Eric Rice, Alex Williams, and a bunch of other really cool people. Dinners are always interesting, because things are a little more casual than at the conference, so you get a better chance to chat. Eric told us all about Second Life, so I am going to have to check that out. Robert commented that everyone is playing either World of Warcraft or Second Life!

I think the conference itself went very well. It had the same feel as last year’s, which is much less tech oriented and more social-impact oriented. Still lots of great people, with great ideas and some very interesting presentations, which is what makes Northern Voice great. There was a similar mix of males and females as last year, though I get the feeling that there were far more Americans this year.

I wasn’t surprised to see so many Apple laptops in the crowd (there usually are at tech events) but I was surprised to see so many people using Microsoft Word for taking notes. That just demonstrates to me that not enough people know about OneNote. And of course, there were still lots of pen and paper people.

I’m not sure I learned anything really new at the conference, but I definitely gathered a good list of things to think about and consider, and that’s probably more important anyway. I’m already looking forward to next year’s! If you’d like to check out my pictures from the conference, I’ve created a photoset at Flickr.

Thanks to Darren, Boris, Roland and all the other organizers and volunteers for a great conference!

Notes on how your blog can change the world!

Post ImageWe’re into the last session of the day now, this one on the five ways your blog can change the world. Here are some notes:

  • Sounds like we’ve gone from four presenters down to one due to some family issues that have come up. I didn’t catch his name though.
  • Yes! He asked what kind of change we want to see in the world, so I stuck up my hand and proclaimed my well-worn mantra, wireless everywhere! Seems as though people agree.
  • There are lots of ways you can take part in some effort to change the world, using things like badges (graphics) or common tags.
  • Seems if you really want something spread quickly, get it on Boing Boing! That’s not the point of the example he is currently sharing, but it is remarkable how that blog can spread information.
  • This is kind of funny, he’s got one of the other presenters on the cell phone with the device held up to the microphone! This is because she didn’t have a microphone to use Skype. Sounds like a telephone interview or something you might see on CNN, kinda neat, and yet pretty low tech!

Lot’s of examples of different projects, like that We Are Sorry campaign after Bush was re-elected, etc. I haven’t been paying that much attention, so I am sure I missed a few things here and there – be sure to check out some other posts on the aggregation servies. I think the links mentioned will be posted on Northern Voice too.

Notes from the Geek Out panel

Post ImageHere are some notes from the Geek Out session administered by Robert Scoble, Will Pate and Kevin Marks:

  • Sounds like they have some topics to discuss at first, followed by some good questions at the end.
  • Kevin is talking about microformats, specifically tagging. We’re also getting a demo of the Blog Finder and Explore features on Technorati. Microformats can be used for tags, events, names, addresses, etc.
  • Kevin just entered “canada” into the Explore feature, and every post on the page was from my blog. Something cool about seeing your blog appear on the big screen in a presentation 🙂
  • Scoble is talking now, about sharing information through del.icio.us and using other Firefox extensions.
  • We’re going around the room sharing favorite Firefox extensions, some of which include: Session Saver, Fangs, PDF Download, Download Status, Signatures, Fasterfox, Web Developer, Firebug, etc.
  • Will Pate is talking now about his blog, and how he uses Drupal for customization. Specifically he is focusing on the aggregation of content capabilities.
  • Kevin just showed an awesome animated graph of the long tail of posts in response to a question about the A list and how to break in. Basically if you get a single inbound link, you’re above average!
  • Scoble reiterates that he’s interested in mapping, and thinks that within a year someone will have “put this room up on a map”. He’s talking about taking the basic mapping capabilities and making them extremely relevant and useful.
  • Will wants better tools for “normal” people, things like posting from within Microsoft Word, etc. He also says user interface is very important!
  • Scoble is interested in the photo sites like Riya and Bubbleshare.
  • Someone asked about Web 2.0 and all of the new products we’re seeing, and both Scoble and Will seem to think we won’t really see a slowdown of new ideas, even though the big three pick up companies along the way.
  • Scoble says the new advertising based business model will allow a lot of new companies to grow. Sounds a lot like the idea behind Live.com if you ask me!

Notes on Everything Casting

Post ImageBack from lunch (we went to Quizno’s in a nearby mall) and I am in Eric Rice’s session titled Everything Casting. Here are some notes:

  • “everything”casting: doing whatever you want, for whatever reason, in whatever medium.
  • your thing, your product, your “it”, your epsilon
  • Four primary elements or categories: content/concept/purpose, medium/materials, audience/behavior, sustain/making money.
  • Content: personal/intimate, art, informational, performance/rock star. You need to have at least one, sometimes you can do all four!
  • Medium: text, audio, video, photos. For all the religious opinions on the medium, it doesn’t matter. Some are better than others, depending on the context, sometimes you can mix them together!
  • Audience: passive, active passive, participatory, active participatory. You can be in any of these moods, and it depends on where you are, the type of medium available, etc.
  • Sustain: zero, fame, barter, cash. It’s perfectly okay to not make money, and in fact, it’s usually hard to make money from things you love doing – think of sports, or playing video games, etc.

More good discussion! Eric will be posting the audio of this session, as well as the slides. Everything is licensed under Creative Commons, so you’re encouraged to use it!

Notes on The Changing Face of Journalism

Post ImageStaying in the same room, where Mike Tippet, Mark Schneider, and Robert Ouimet are talking about the changing face of journalism. This probably going to be similar to what was talked about yesterday during Moosecamp. Here are some notes:

  • We are experiencing an existential moment in the news.
  • Readers can now make their own news, and they are going online to consume news.
  • Michael Tippet essentially gave an overview of NowPublic and the circumstances that allowed it to exist.
  • Robert Ouimet is from CBC, and is talking about how news is changing.
  • He asked how many people in the room watch the 6 oclock news – very few hands went up!
  • Mark Schneider is now sharing his journalistic background. He says the truth of the matter is, the news is really sick. There’s a toxic quality about what we are consuming. The news organizations themselves have been tainted.
  • Now we’re on to discussion. Not many notes on this session – it was very interesting, but much harder to write stuff down. I am getting hungry for lunch too, maybe that has something to do with it!
  • Mark says there is something called NewsML (markup language) in the works.
  • Robert: focus is important, and is taught to journalism students and employees, but is an exercise in rejecting everything else.

Really great discussion in this session!

Notes on The 7 Competencies of Online Interaction

Post ImageI decided to switch rooms to check out Nancy White’s session on Snow White and the Seven Competencies of Online Interaction. Some notes:

  • I’m also chatting live in the NV Back Channel. You can join if you want! Dickson just commented that he hates IRC…I guess he’s run into too many viruses!
  • Our world is far more unbounded – we’re creating our own reality.
  • Nancy is kind of telling a story like Julie, using images on the screen as she goes.
  • We have the ability to let this magic happen by changing our organizations.
  • Communications Skills – scan, see patterns, write, image-inate, vocalize, intuit; write blog daily, test, draw, record, summarize, listen
  • Learning with others – learning as a practice, gift economy, collaborate, open hand…
  • Ramlinger – 6 Network Functions: filters, amplifyers, convenors, facilitators, investors, community builders
  • Nancy: note, make a competency about tools!
  • Facilitation for: relationship, identity/reputation, presence, flow
  • Shouting creates quite a different environment online than in meatspace. Learn about improvisation and creatively abrasive!
  • Convening Conversations – invite, name the question, initiate, design for local choice, nurture
  • Intercultural antennae: broadly defined, heart variations, “default” culture – look, read, live/work/play, bridge!
  • Tolerance for Ambiguity – OK with not in control, not knowing, move forward without certainty
  • Ability to switch contexts – connectors, networkers, multiple perspectives, outsiderness
  • Self-Awareness!
  • So what? Undeterred by failure, care for the whole, willing to be vulnerable, value the human system first
  • The struggle is the solution. Grieve for the cost of what exists now. Treat the conversation as action. See the reality in the current situation.
  • Edith Wharton – There are two ways of spreading the light: To be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

Notes from Sifry on the Blogosphere

Post ImageDave Sifry and Tim Bray are on stage now, getting ready to do their presentation, apparently with no visuals! Sounds like they will be accepting questions from the crowd as well.

  • Kind of a cool interview setup, Dave and Tim sitting on stage.
  • How many people are bloggers? Everyone raises their hand. How many people don’t have a Technorati ego feed? No one raises their hand!

I’m going to try and capture some of the Q and A here but don’t expect exact quotes – I’ll be summarizing essentially.

T: Why do we need blogs?
D: [Explains why he started Technorati.] Mailing lists suck! Started looking around to see if there might be a better way and came across a dynamic web publishing system, a blog. I immediately became a stats whore, I wanted to know what people were saying about me! The problem was fundamentally the way search engines are built – in essence built on the model that the web is the world’s biggest library. Even today we talk about the web as if it were a library – web pages, documents, indexes, etc. What I wanted was the immediacy of conversation. Traditional search engines don’t really understand the concept of time. This doesn’t mean that the web as a library metaphor isn’t a good one. What I realized was, pages are created by people. Authority does not denote veracity! I built Technorati because I wanted to know who was talking about me.

T: What leaps out at you from your state of the blogosphere series?
D: We don’t pretend to say we’re tracking every blog that exists, but we’re working hard to get all of the public ones. Korea for example, we don’t track quite as well. There’s about 27.6 million blogs, and that grows by 75,000 every day (about one new weblog per second). How many blog after three months? Just over 50%, about 13.7 million. About 2.8 million post once a week or more, and just under a million post once a day or more. There are about 15 new posts per second. The blogosphere is incredibly many-to-many. People like Instapundit or BoingBoing are starting to look a lot like the mainstream media, where they get a lot of links and just can’t respond to every comment, etc. It’s the people after these top ones that are much more interesting; their traffic is still manageable enough to carry on a conversation, yet they are still authoritative. The idea behind Technorati’s Blog Finder feature is to try and help these people get discovered.

Audience Member: How can we deal with the fact that the world of tagging is messy and there’s multiple languages, etc?
D: When you setup the system so that it’s easy to do, an emergent system starts to occur. As long as tagging is easy, emergent thinking will occur.
T: I think we can agree that’s the only hope too, no one can create a big dictionary.

T: Blogging is changing so much, what can go wrong?
D: Wow! The growth cannot continue forever, because there’s only so many humans in the world! We’re still very much at the beginning though, and there are some enormous challenges like spam, splogs, spings, etc. As Cory Doctorow said, all healthy ecosystems have parasites! Net neutrality, is one of the most dangerous threats to the net. This is the idea where telecom providers try to do preferrential pricing.

Audience Member: How many spam blogs are being created by robots?
D: About July of 2004 is when they really started to appear, and there’s two kinds; the ones that do SEO type blogs, and those that are scraping content to try and make money. The way to solve this is to get down to the economics of why people do this. And it has to be an ecosystem approach, different companies have to work together.
T: I think it is hitting the long tail less hard than the head of the tail.

T: [Asked something about RSS and advertising I think.]
D: Your RSS aggregator is not “push”…it goes off at some regular interval to pull down information. And they all understand when something is “read” differently.

Audience Member: What about federated networks?
D: It’s a shift in the economics of publishing. We’re starting to see, in effect, a guild system. It comes down to, can you write with quality and can you work effectively with advertisers to make money?

Scoble made a comment about advertising at this point.

D: I think advertising sucks, but imagine you could see ads you actually want to?

Okay I am back to just some notes:

  • Google Bowling – people will create spam sites that point to competitors so that they get kicked out of the index.
  • Tim says he observed bored children in the audience, and reminds everyone of the kids room.

Notes on Why Stories are Essential

Post ImageJulie Leung is up on stage now to present her keynote Starting with Fire: Why Stories are Essential and How to Blog Effective Tales. Julie always has an interesting presentation so this should be good.

  • Just as she did at Gnomedex, Julie has started by sharing a story from her past, using pictures to illustrate her words. I’ll pick out some of the key quotes from her story.
  • “We are surrounded by stories. Nature reveals why stories are important.”
  • “It is in our nature to seek stories. We are our stories.”
  • “Stories can be indirect, yet powerful. Stories are perfect for complexity.”
  • “Stories are tools of change.”
  • “Stories heal us emotionally.”
  • “We come together around stories. They continue culture, and they change culture.”
  • “Stories are essential because stories are essentially human.”

Julie is now sharing some of her principles for blogging stories:

  • What is a story? They usually have a beginning, a middle, and an end. However “one way”, is for traffic signs! She highlight’s Robert McKee’s book “Story”.
  • Change the familiar! Avoid cliches, but also try to take the ordinary and give it new color and new meaning.
  • How to begin? When beginning a story, listen and link to others.
  • Take notes. Include sensory details.
  • Use the power of pause, blank space, etc.
  • Blogging has a freedom you can’t find in other places – a story can be any shape or size. You can break a story into many pieces, and each can become a blog post.
  • Hiding! Make it suspenseful, as in life, we don’t know all of the story until the end.
  • Experiment to continue growing as a blogger.
  • Voice comes naturally, and you’ll find it as you experiment and share your stores.
  • Have fun, be creative, and play.
  • It’s the raw and sometimes the imperfect that speaks to us the most.
  • Linking and commenting make stories real. The story is corrected, confirmed and can lead to collaboration. It takes two to make a story, the teller and the listener.
  • Blogging is transforming story telling.
  • Be generous and creative with links; they can add another dimension to stories.

Now Julie is sharing some examples of blogging stories:

Julie says: start with fire, start with the hearth.