Thinking Bigger: Web 2.0 Summit Gives a Purpose

For the first time in a while yesterday, I felt back at home.

Although I’ve been traveling all about speaking to different companies and business conferences, it’s been some time since I’ve gone to conferences in my core passion area of social media and web 2.0. Although I was only able to attend the third of three days, Tim O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 Summit really gave a good show in the most literal meaning. The 3k ticket price brought forth amazing speakers from Mark Zuckerberg, Arianna Huffington, Jerry Yang, Lance Armstrong, Issac Mao, Marc Benioff, Kevin Rose, and an inspirational keynote by Al Gore.

Unlike previous Web 2.0 events the theme was very clear to me, these social tools are now impacting so much more than the tech blogger circle jerk that we all tire of. With our future President launching a blog on Wednesday, Lance Armstrong discussing politics, ego and the web, and Al Gore on stage discussing how energy and global crises can help be solved from collaborative means.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been at a tech conference where we didn’t fondle the hammer and actually focused on building the house. Actually choosing an objective to apply these tools to much bigger problems: cancer, health, politics, global warming, energy crises, and connecting the world.

In an earlier panel we saw the bumping of elbows between Google, Microsoft, MySpace and Facebook each pitting themselves against each other in this cage match panel, yet it was more inspiring to hear in Al Gore’s closing keynote, he talked about having a purpose to using these tools to impact something far bigger than ever before.

Al Gore at #web2summitPicture or Video 026Picture or Video 023Meeting TimPicture or Video 016Picture or Video 015Chris HeuerDemand Media team

See the many other public pictures tagged #web2summit coming in.

15 Replies to “Thinking Bigger: Web 2.0 Summit Gives a Purpose”

  1. sounds fantastic Jeremiah, I’ve been getting very tired of the web 2.0/social media echo chamber that lots of these conferences are like. I get the feeling that things are really going to blow up over the next year or so 🙂

  2. Great points (your post and Karl Long’s comment). I have never paid to go to a conference, and fortunately I have either spoken, or been comped to get in.

    I am glad to hear that so many got their (3k) monies worth. More often then not, I believe that conference organizers exist for only one thing…to make a quick buck. This results in their panelists and keynotes adding NOTHING of value. They instead simply use it as a forum to tout their own (solution) horn.

    I don’t need to pay money to here someone brag myopically about their product or service.

    Though it is not the same as being there, reading comments from you and others about the conference at least brings it to me (and the masses), and THAT is what social media is all about.

    I can’t wait for Obama’s (and others like Gore) Government 2.0…wake up people and DEMAND this from your congressman.

  3. Yup, this was by far the best conference I’ve attended all year. And the timing could’t have been more perfect with Obama being elected president on the eve of the conference’s first day. So, I’d give even more credit to Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle for having the foresight in having fully planned the conference many months ago around the theme of “Web Meets World.”

    My tweetstream from the conference is at

  4. Someday I’ll attend a conference with a 3k ticket price. Until then, I will continue to smile and live through you. Thanks for providing some context to its purpose and what you got out of it.

  5. As a New Orleans native and someone who blogs for a living I have to say that I am behind this 100%.

    In the days after the storm local bloggers began to come together, teaching web 2.0 skills to local activist and community groups, watchdogging the rebuild, and trying to pool our efforts for the common good.

    For example: The efforts of have resulted in news coverage in the MSM and possible legal action concerning questionable use of rebuild funds.

    Oddly enough for a seeming technological backwater, use of social media in New Orleans have already gone into that mode and continues to evolve as the reconstruction drags on.

    I am very glad to hear that this is finally reaching center stage. IMHO none of the tech really means anything if you are not doing something positive with it.

  6. Each event I’ve attended this year seems to have the same theme, that in 2009, everyone wants more authenticity and transparency. I’m interested to know whether you’ve noticed this as well in the more corporate arena. Although I used to be a corporate executive, I’m now a business owner, business coach, speaker and a blogger. Thus, the conferences I attend are more focused to those audiences. If corporations are as equally focused on these topics, we could be headed for a really exciting transition next year. Can you comment?

    Angie Swartz

  7. So maybe as these tools become diffused throughout mainstream society, more people will figure out concrete ways to apply these tools to benefit the world? These tools are essentially better ways to communicate and share ideas. Aren’t we just trying to make the world a better place faster?

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