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PodCamp Hawaii 2008: Blogatwitteropalooza

Today just before lunch I popped over to the
PodCamp Hawaii 2008 unconference to check out the scene and say hello to friends. As usual
Ryan and friends did a great job of coordinating, presenting and covering the event. The crowd had a good mix of techies and non-techies looking to leverage new media to promote their businesses. I was hoping to stay longer but I have a ton of work to do on
ooi this weekend.
Sid - I'm sorry I missed your social networking presentation. I hope to catch it online.

One thing that struck me as interesting was that a significant number of people at the conference spent most of the time between talks with their heads down in their laptops and other mobile devices blogging, twittering and emailing. While this is not entirely unexpected at a conference about blogging, podcasting and social media, it does seem a bit deleterious to real world networking. There were a number of times when I was hesitant to approach people because they were so engaged with their devices. It made me think about how you strike a balance. The trend right now it to blog and twitter everything possible, especially at technology related events. Blog, blog, blog...microblog. Unfortunately this can really take away from the important real world social interactions conferences are intended to encourage. At some point will there be a swing in the other direction that re-emphasizes real world 1.0 social interactions? Alternatively, perhaps new technology such as wearable video cameras and systems like SocialSense will do a better job of integrating in-person interaction with web based interaction, recording, and broadcasting. Thoughts?
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Comment by Roxanne Darling on November 3, 2008 at 8:16am
Burt Lum is holding his Unconferenz this coming January - I think that will be more advanced. Thanks for your offer of help; we are still digging out from all the finish work and new connections!
Comment by Rob Bertholf on November 2, 2008 at 8:43pm
I am so bummed that I missed it! I received several glowing reports of its success!

Are there any plans to have an advanced level follow up to PodCamp Hawaii? I would love to help out if there is an interest.

Started a post here:
Comment by Roxanne Darling on October 27, 2008 at 3:17pm
And for me to be clear - I didn't take your post as a knock - more of a savvy admin getting out the comments! I actually am an oddball myself in that like you, I really enjoy the F2F interaction, although being connected to more introverted type, I appreciate what they bring to the vent even if we can't count on them for chit chat.


Wish I could help on the gaming front. I do earn a complete FAIL on that one!
Comment by Daniel Leuck on October 27, 2008 at 2:43pm
Aloha Rox. I just wanted to clarify that this post was in no way intended to knock PodCamp Hawaii. PCH was very well planned and executed. Among other things, it clearly brought a lot of new people into the social media world. I was commenting on a trend in techie conventions in general.

Thank you for your insightful response. It has a lot more meat than my post :-) Some degree of blogging and twittering at these events is definitely beneficial. I've already benefited from seeing some of the material I missed due to my schedule. I also agree with your comment about a certain energy being created just by having people with common interests in proximity. That being said, I think for some people the pendulum has swung too far toward the web and away from real world interaction. Its hard to find the proper balance, much like deciding how much of your vacation to spend with a camera in front of your face.

I am also a big proponent of "the energy." I suspect there are times when you and Mika hang out, and there is no need for conversation tho you nonetheless are experiencing each other and co-mingling your energies somehow.
Usually when Mika and I aren't talking she is beating me up in a video game. :-)

Those glasses are WAY cool and I would love to have some pairs pre-loaded with attendee information for an event like this.
I agree! Sam demoed them at the past two UBIF meetings. Right now they have a distinct borg-like appearance, but the technology is getting better all the time.
Comment by Roxanne Darling on October 27, 2008 at 2:11pm
P.S. Those glasses are WAY cool and I would love to have some pairs pre-loaded with attendee information for an event like this. We did have the Ventana widget though...just like SXSW. :-)
Comment by Roxanne Darling on October 27, 2008 at 2:09pm
Daniel - thanks so much to you and Mika for coming in the midst of your busy schedules. I'd like to take this on - as the person attempting to attract more people to social media in Hawaii.

1) It is IMO a great service to the virtual world for some segment of our attendees to be live blogging, live tweeting, and live streaming the events to others who cannot be here in person. Yes, that does mean they are slightly disconnected from the real people there, but I think the benefits far outweigh that. We had people literally from around the world who joined us in the chat room at and could ask questions of the presenters. Others followed the Twitter stream. FYI, #pch08 (our official tag) was trending #2 on Twitter and Flickr starting late Fri. (We were being beat by Halloween...) This from a group, well over half of whom had not known what a tag was at 9 am Fri morning! Oh ye with heads down are most welcome to attend any "social media" conference I am hosting.

2) Which leads me to Haken's comment (already on my mind when I was reading your post.) Many people are curious about tech and the social web, but do not experience themselves as inherently traditional social types. This conference was a great chance to come and dive in to the tech and to the social, in whatever mix of the two styles suits you in the moment. In other words, there was no pressure to have to mingle. And I think some geeks really appreciate that.

3) Having said that, I did notice some loners and have added to my notes to explore ways for people to do more opt-in mixing it up in case they do not know anyone and are not sure how to go about reaching out. I would encourage you to go up and "interrupt" people who may be "laptoping." They may be using laptop as a companion (when a live human would be preferred) or they may be doing work (thereby being able to be here in part instead of chained to the cubicle), etc.

4) I am also a big proponent of "the energy." I suspect there are times when you and Mika hang out, and there is no need for conversation tho you nonetheless are experiencing each other and co-mingling your energies somehow. I think that is in play at conferences, and is also a valid way to "connect." It is being done in a different dimension than the usual talky talk, but can still be quite powerful. I am thinking about brainstorming effects here and just generic cure for loneliness without having to put out.

So I have gone longer than intended but I want to point out there is a dramatic shift taking place re: how people connect and communicate via the internet. The biggest thing I am noticing is that even very smart people, very techy people, very high level business people, they do not know about this. If people and businesses want to keep up it is incumbent to learn about the nuance between Facebook and LinkedIn, how Twitter really works (not the mechanics but the behavior), knowing tactically which social web tool is best suited for a given campaign.

Meeting people at the place where they like to hang out and being able to communicate with people in the direct and indirect ways they prefer, can go a very long way to building your connections. "Social" is being redefined in part by technology and in part by people standing up and asserting their own preferences.

I think I will now actually add this to my blog; I've been wanting to raise a number of these issues anyway! Mahalo for getting it started!
Comment by Kurt Sussman on October 27, 2008 at 11:00am
At the last RailsConf in Portland, I think about 20% of the attendees spent half of their time in the halls staring at their laptop screens. It did feel like a barrier. But it must be important to the personality of the conference, because O'Reilly is going to set up a new registration category for people who want to sit in the halls and hack instead of attending the presentations.

I feel like I almost understand the point...
Comment by Daniel Leuck on October 26, 2008 at 4:15pm
I don't think that's odd at all. The problem with tech conventions is the same as surveys about sex. Only a certain type of techie attends conventions. :-)

Note: I attend several conventions a year so I am not making sport of either crowd.


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