February 15, 2003
Thoughts on the Blogosphere/Meatspace collision

I'm back from the Live from the Blogosphere. I'm home, I'm warm, and I chatted with the wife for a bit. I checked in on the kids in bed and finally sat down at the computer.

I checked the regular places and news from the Blogosphere event is leaking out. I'll attempt to collect my thoughts.

I arrived after the event had started, around 8PM. I assumed there wouldn't be many people there and was completely suprised to find the place was packed with no room on the inside. There were chairs outside, but you couldn't hear anything that was going on inside.

Here's looking in on the action...

Thanks to the SoCal WUG guys, the event was being video and audio streamed to the net. It took a bit of messing about to get the streams up, but I did.

The video stream was almost unintelligle. The audio stream was clear, but my laptop wasn't loud enough to hear well over the crowd outside. The studio location is in Chinatown and there must have been seven or eight open gallery showings. People from these showings were walking up and loudly trying to figure out what was going on. Since I was the guy with the laptop making some sort of sound, people kept asking me what was going on inside. I did my best to explain and most people understood right away.

There were a few others connecting to the wifi network and trying to hear what was going on. None of use were having much success. Brendan wrote a series of posts while sitting about 10 feet away from me.

I kept making an effort to actually listen to the audio and hear what they were talking about inside. The one line I remember is "what would happen if Brad Pitt started a weblog". Several of us outside discussed this a bit.

It was quite frustrating to be so close to the event and yet so far away from it. If I was only a mere 15 feet closer, I could have heard everything.

Overall I was having fun, but I was really missing out on the panel's discussion due to all the conversation outside. I guess that it wasn't so important to hear every snippet. Weblogging is about the conversation.

Here's someone outside the door taking donations. Note the elaborate and costly donations box.

A couple of guys walked up to me near the end of the event and asked if they could see something on the net. The asked for evhead.com and pointed to the link on the page. That's when I saw the news. The guys were from audblog.com and had come from San Fran just for the event. They said they saw him blogging when they were inside and wanted to see what it said.

Evan's post linked to the Dan Gilmor article about Google buying Pyra Labs. In the weblog world, this is huge news. HUGE.

I talked to the audblog.com guys a bit more and they explained that their site/service was about using a phone to make weblog entries. The basic idea is that you call a number, say your entry, the computer turns the voice to text, and then posts the text on your weblog. I've been wishign for somethign like this for a while. What I really want is the ability to send text emails with my voice. They assured me they'd have it all working soon. Here is an example of what they can do today. That was recorded live at the event as well.

Interesting stuff if you ask me. As soon as they have it working with Movable Type, I'm signing up.

After the whole thing was over, I gave a little donation to Xeni & Beverly, the gals that ran the event, about what was next. They didn't have any specifics, but said they were happy with the turnout.

When I got home, I saw the news was already up on Metafilter. I submitted the story to Slashdot, and amazingly, the accepted my submission.

To sum things up, I think the blogosphere needs more of these type of events. Interacting in meatspace is important. It's much more gratifying to talk to a person and hear them thank you for your knowledge than endlessly refreshing your weblog hoping for comments and checking for new referrer links.

I think my earlier statement applies to both the event and the blogosphere in general. "The blogosphere is loud, packed with people, and you can't hear the people you want to hear."

It's now 1 AM and I'm going to bed. The girls will be awake in less than six hours...

Next Day Edit: I'm told that's not Xeni in the picture. Maybe I didn't meet her after all. Can someone clear it up?

Posted by michael at February 15, 2003 11:48 PM