I’ll admit it, I’m nervous.
Next week I’ll be sharing the podium with Mark Schneider as part of the Vancouver Public Library’s “Changing World of Information” series. The main branch of the VPL is one of my favorite buildings in the city, and I’m honoured by the invitation to talk about blogs and wikis, with special emphasis on the implications for “ideas, public opinion, and free speech.”
I usually like giving presentations — they are rare occasions where I am permitted to spout off uninterrupted for minutes at a time (hecklers notwithstanding). But a few things make me especially nervous about this event. It’s rare for me to step outside the education bubble and address the “general” public. And there is already evidence that the wider world has at least dim awareness of this event — I was interviewed by one of the local newspapers this week, and am slated for a photoshoot early next week (what should I wear?)… The kicker was when I learned that the Vancouver Blogger Meetup group is planning to make the talk the focus of their January event. If those RSVP’s pan out, there are going to be some mighty impressive people in the audience.
I’ve attended a couple blogger meetups in the past, so I know that they tend to be a friendly affairs. And for once, I won’t have to go searching for someone to have a post-event beer with. But at the same time I feel some pressure not to let the side down. Which is where you come in. Or so I fervently hope.
One theme I will definitely cover is the nature of social software conversation. I would like to try and tap into that, both to improve my talk and to demonstrate how it works. Whether or not you are attending the event I’d like to incorporate your thoughts. If you have a blog, I’d be grateful if you’d toss up a quick post addressing one of the following questions:
* What is most significant about the emergence of blogs and/or wikis?
* In your mind, what is most misunderstood (or little understood) about these tools?
* Are blogs and wikis evolving into something else?
* What are the implications of these publishing tools on ideas, public opinion and free speech?
* What are a few of your essential blog reads or wiki communities?
* Anything else?
If you prefer, you may add your thoughts to a wiki page I’ve set up that will eventually be incorporated into the presentation.
If things go as I hope, I’ll draw material from a range of people, resulting in a more compelling presentation than I could begin to assemble myself. Hopefully it will provide an object demonstration of how distributed conversations can happen. If you are able to throw up a few lines, please add a link to this post. I will monitor Trackbacks, Technorati and my referrer stats. I will quote and offer shout-outs liberally, and create a page listing every contribution and recommended link (spammers excepted) that I discover.
If you don’t want to put this on your blog, or don’t have one, you are welcome to leave a comment on this post. And if you have an old post that is relevant, there’s no need to rewrite, feel free to go back and add a link back to here, or let me know about it via comment or email.
If you’re in Vancouver, and take morbid delight in watching a hapless speaker pelted with rocks and garbage, I urge you to head downtown next week. Attendance is free: Thursday January 26, 7:00 pm, Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street.