Has Conversation on the web lost its intimacy?


Image via b_d_solis

Now that I have your attention.. Here it goes ..

Bangalore had its 7th version of the ‘Barcamp’ unconference! Yes you heard it right, thats 7 in 2.5 yrs! I attended the first one in April of 2006. Kudos to the group for keeping it going.. But the coverage of this event has got me thinking about the conversation on the web .. I am only using this event as a example to illustrate my thinking..

Back in 2006.. The event coverage for Barcamp was great.. Tools like ustream.tv, seesmic, backtype and twitter were not in place. Blog was still in fashion, flickr and tags were being used liberally and one would even find youtube videos of the event.. Tracking the conversation would be as simple as tracking google’s blog search and flickr. Youtube videos were linked to blog posts. The conversation felt intimate and networking was great!

The conversation on the web has obviously evolved and is a lot more distributed today. A variety of mediums are being exploited but various tools that address the need. But it feels like the very purpose of these is being defeated .. It doesnt feel INTIMATE! (It is an entirely different story that the coverage of bcb7 was below average to say the least, the twitter feed was pretty good but thats pretty much it) Arent they tools supposed to enhance the quality of these conversations? How many people outside the valley use these tools?

Or is it just that the there is a need for a tool to tie these together to provide the whole picture? Tracking an event takes a whole lot of effort! Here are a few steps

  • First organizers need to standardize on the tag for the event!
  • Need to evangelize the use of the tag!
  • Register the tag/userid on hashtags, twitter & whole bunch of places!
  • Register with upcoming.org/eventful.com for the event.
  • Broadcast live (like techcrunch’s live feed for TC50) or get someone to broadcast it (like scoble on qik.com)

For someone to follow the event the end user has to do the following ..

  • Subscribe to upcoming.org/eventful.com
  • Refresh the following windows every few seconds
  • twitter search
  • google or ask’s blog search
  • flickr & youtube search
  • backtype search
  • seesmic / 12seconds.tv search
  • During or after the event the user does one or more of the following:
  • Subscribe to blogs/twitters/seemic/users that your discover
  • Mark as read items in blogs that you have already read due to your search windows!
  • Mark links on delicious/magnolia
  • Add friends to various social networks
  • Add friends to various IM clients
  • Keep checking blogs/twitter to see if the podcasts have been released (Oreilly’s where conference!)

WHAT A PAIN! At this point, tracking an event just adds to my information overload. I have to work way hard to track an event (Whether or not I am attending it)

I think Marissa Mayer from Google stated it nice when she said she looks at web models as either push or pull!

Unfortunately following an event on the web is a pull mechanism right now rather than being a push mechanism after one expresses his interest!

Make no mistake about it .. This problem only gets harder as more niche tools for personal journalism expand.

I would luv to hear how you follow conferences on the web.. Would you like to see it evolve? If so how? Please share your thoughts! Wonder how the scoble‘s and Loic Le Meur‘s of the world track conferences.

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