I should be sleeping, but I figured I would just be recapping in my head the take-aways from the Mesh conference I attended today and yesterday, so I might as well blog it. Mesh is without doubt Canada's web conference, attracting Canadian speakers and attendees doing some of the coolest online work.
This is my second year attending and overall I loved it. It really is great to meet and talk to other people working in the same sphere.
This year as I'm both a grad student and a part-time website manager, I decided to bill myself only as a grad student. Glad I did, as this meant that I could actually talk to people without them trying to convince me how great their product/service is. Frankly, I just want to take a pee without getting pitched.
I was going to recap the sessions I attended, but then I noticed an attendee blogging during the sessions, so check out Connie Crosby's blog for an excellent summary of the key points (and as it turns out, we attended almost all the same sessions).
The first day with its focus on online media and society seemed to me to offer more insight on how people are using the Internet, online issues being tackled, and the possibilities for the future. Whereas today's discussions on marketing and business felt a bit like textbook information for those who don't take the time to read the textbook in the first place.
It was great to hear from Canadian Internet success stories StumbleUpon and Club Penguin. But there were many others at Mesh doing innovative, creative, fascinating work in or with the Internet. The company I work for, on the other hand, is pretty staid and low tech. So attending this conference is bittersweet as I watch the parade passing me by.
I also found it ironic that at an Internet conference, I went into serious Internet withdrawal as I had no online access for most of two days. I was dying to check out the sites mentioned, blog about issues raised, check my email, etc. I did get lots of enjoyment looking over others' shoulders to see the extent of fellow attendees' ADD (only Connie seemed to be doing anything on her laptop related to the conference). I was a bit horrified at the widespread Twittering going on (What the hell are people twittering anyway? "My ass hurts from these crappy chairs./ I think I'll go get another free Red Bull./ Mmm cheesecake squares. / Should I go for drinks afterwards or go home and sleep?").
Thanks to the organizers of Mesh for bringing another great line-up of speakers and assembling a much-needed forum in Canada for this sector.