At Miami’s WeMedia Conference

I’ll be updating this post, so please continue to come back!

Wed Evening: Reception and Blogger Dinner

I’m sitting a swanky lounge in Miami, not too far from the University of Miami where tomorrow the WeMedia conference will be held. There’s a (some interesting folks coming) blogger dinner being held tonight, coordinated by Scrapblog who is one of the sponsors of the conference. There’s going to be over 40 folks here, it’s always interesting meeting those in person that you communicate with online.

This conference, which has strong focus on social media, stems from grassroots, citizen journalism and the intersection of web tools (my favorite topic). David Parmet (who I was able to video interview) is here, he’s helping out Scrapblog. Scrapblog just got covered by Techcrunch a few hours ago, they gave Nick at Techcrunch the exclusive story to the upcoming version. I’m sitting next to Josh Halett at dinner. Shel Israel, JD Lassica, Lisa Stone, are here.

I’ve got a few other video interviews lined up with folks that get Social Media, and how corporations can use them, so stay tuned over the next few days. I should have a video coming up soon of me interviewing Doc Searls, and I’ll be having dinner with Marc Cantor on Monday. Feel free to leave any comments that would make interesting talking points.

Thursday: Conference Day 1
It’s a gorgeous day here in Miami, in the 70s, sunny, much better than I hear in the bay area which apparently dumped quite a bit of rain yesterday. This conference is supposed to be a ‘community style’ or ‘audience lead’ discussion. Given the structure and setup, it’s not quite the same as an unconference. Most of my focus will be tied to Social Media, Business, and Web Strategy. For another perspective, see what Jemina Kiss (diligently live blogging directly in front of me) is sharing. Jason is giving us his live thoughts as well. I’m also reading the official WeMedia blog, specifically Tish’s post on Blogging and getting media literate. Ernesto is here as well, I video interviewed him, very interesting guy, he’s doing some great stuff.

Session 1: Community Forum
How communities real and virtual are changing through media. What are the new ways for people to use information, news and journalism to imagine their collective possibilities as communities, and to set and reach common community goals.
Merrill Brown, MMB Media, Shel Israel, Naked Conversations author, Lisa Stone, BlogHer, Rich Skrenta, Topix, Ian Rowe, MTV, Jan Schaffer, J-Lab.

  • Shel Israel sets the pace discussing how the next generation of works will be replacing the baby boomers in the workplace, and how physical boundaries are no longer as relevant in today’s network world
  • Ian, who’s about my age (I’m of the MTV generation too) describes how MTV’s on demand audiences are moving so fast. One of their missions is to connect young people with similiar passions and goals.
  • Rich: The internet is about “people talking to people”. Rich discusses the ‘bad apples’ we find in the internet (Trolls and detractors).
  • Jan: Has a focus on bottom up journalist perspective. Suggests that hyper local websites have small passionate communities, often without an influence of a more traditional publishing method.
  • Lisa: Gave great examples of how mommybloggers are getting involved, couch potatoes are no longer the norm, as everyone throws in their voice.
  • Interesting conversations of how internet content can be redistributed to offline mediums, esp paper. 123 million newspapers are printed, Shel wonders how many are actually read, and what percentage are read. Shel opens up in an amazing sermon. It’s not about one way messages, but collaboration, communication. For some reason, the power to his mic went out halfway during the sermon. Not on purpose I hope!

    Interesting conversation: Is conversation a form of Journalism? Jan says no.

    The big question or debate is around how will traditional journalists be part/lead/influence/learn/control communities.

    Friday: Conference Day 2

    Big media lost, confused, spinning, and won’t let go

    This was one of my first dunk into a conference focused on the intersection of “traditional press/media” and “social media”.

    There was quite a bit of confusion from this group, which was primarily journalists and folks from media. They don’t know how to fit, they don’t know what to do. To quote Mark Glaser is refreshing:

    But this conference uses the “we media” moniker loosely, making the gathering a hotbed of broadcasters, newspaper folk, venture capitalists, and advocacy groups who all want to understand how they can dance the “we media” dance. Usually I insert a metaphor about square people in suits trying to look cool doing hip-hop breakdancing, but in this case the conference was kicked off today with a couple hip-hop videos, so my usual fiction was strangely coming true.

    In fact, I recommend you read all of Mark’s rant.

    I’m somewhat compassionate for the journalism industry, the power is shifting to the participants. Some folks in the room still feel they can command and control (Shel’s terms) but in reality, people/users/participants are already in charge and sharing amongst themselves. As soon as they figure out they have to ‘let go to gain more’ they’re in an even harder spot to figure out how to make money.

    The Big Media and Journalism Industry understands the impact, but is still struggling to find how the fit into the picture

    For us, it’s easy, we just do. We blog, get on podcasts, talk to people in our industry, go to events, organize our own events, create videos, share and learn. For us, it’s easy, we just do.

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