VPL Post-Mortem and Gratuitous Gratitude

Well, after all my anxiety the talk at the Vancouver Public Library went pretty well. One of the biggest audiences I’ve spoken to, and definitely one of the most diverse. We had people like Richard Eriksson in the front row, and we had a fair contingent of people who were only barely conversant with the web (sample question: “what’s the difference between a chat room and a discussion board?”). First talk I can recall where there was security barring people at the door because they were disruptive presences — it was a downtown kind of crowd.

Since my last shout-out, we had a few more contributors I’d like to thank. Stephen Downes pointed to this Pew Internet study (pdf) that made the pertinent argument that the web provides “people with access to multiple communities worldwide from which they can draw help and support.” No kidding. Gardner, Joan, David and D’Arcy all made wonderful last-minute contributions. I was literally adding their stuff in at the podium moments before beginning.

The biggest challenge was assembling so much great material in some kind of coherent framework on the presentation wiki. I hope none of the contributors feel slighted with how I arranged things — I had to leave a lot of excellent stuff out. But as a demonstration of the concept of distributed conversation I think the cry for help worked as well as I could have hoped. When I revealed half-way through the talk where I was getting most of my material, there seemed to be an “a-ha moment” for at least some in the audience. Lindsay Kante describes the tactic as “shameless, yes, but effective”, and I couldn’t hope for a better assessment than that.

Once again, I thank everyone who offered their precious time to share their thoughts and their work for this event.

I was on the bill with Mark Schneider, who gave a passionate talk with some truly fine insights on the current state of journalism and how the pitfalls might be addressed. He went over very well. I’ve had a couple of requests for his slides, which can be downloaded here (ppt 1.4 MB). Richard also shot a bit of video of Mark’s talk and posted it to YouTube.

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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15 Responses to VPL Post-Mortem and Gratuitous Gratitude

  1. Wowser. Wish I coulda been there. I’m always interested in strange brews/mixed audiences, and it sounds to me as if you struck exactly the right tone. (No surprises there.)

    The wiki, Alan’s images, your aggregation/presentation/organization: a bounty. I’m humbled to be in the company.

    See you soon. (Now that’s an encouraging thought.) Andy and I will share with you what the forest you helped to plant here looks like these days. Tire swings and majesty.

  2. Brian says:

    Andy’s comming too– that’s great! With you, him and Steve Greenlaw UMW will be looking pretty hot. See you all soon (encouraging thought indeed).

  3. Michelle says:

    I just wanted to add that last nights presentation was great, for someone who sounds so anxious in your previous post it surely wasn’t visible last night. I’ve been around blogging for a couple of years now and still learned some new information from both you. Thanks for the great show.

  4. Brian says:

    Thanks Michelle! The audience was ready to have fun, which was a big help.

    Nice blog you got there.

  5. Lindsay says:

    I meant shameless in a good way — but I think you gathered that. 😀

    Will you be sharing the ‘disgruntled audience’ photos you took? Or did we not look disgruntled enough? 😉

  6. Brian says:

    Lindsay — ‘shameless’ is as complimentary as I could hope for.

    The photos didn’t turn out very well, alas. Didn’t get the lighting right.

  7. Eleika says:

    I thorougly enjoyed the presentation. It was too bad you only had a half hour allotted to you – there seemed to be so much you could have covered.

    Also, I dunno if you’ve seen this particular comic, but I thought you’d appreciate it for its commentary on the downside of wikis:



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