Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Mesh Day 1 - Too Wired

Couldn't make it to Mesh for day two as the babysitter didn't show, but fortunately today's episode of Tyra show is about Twitter addiction and Facebook breakups, so it's almost the same but with Tyra's sassy attitude.

Yesterday, the first day of Mesh Conference was my third year attending Mesh and the fourth year of the conference. As anticipated it is indeed Canada's web conference and the line-up of keynotes and speakers is good. The highlight keynote address yesterday was from Jessica Jackley, a founder of Kiva. In addition to helping facilitating microloans to entrepreneurs in developing nations, Jessica explains a key goal was to change the face of poverty, beyond images of helpluss pitiful creatures to allow people around the world to connect one another. She mentioned that work like this doesn't pay a lot but Jessica states "I could retire on happiness". As one who quit a good paying job in financial services to pursue more meaningful work, I can relate.

For the remainder of the day, I attended panel sessions on education & technlogy, hyperlocal media, and using the Web for good. The sessions were good, but what I found more interesting actually was following the tweets about the conference.

Tweeting and IMing during a conference is definitely a way to add interactivity to sessions and keep attendees awake (as are Red Bull, a much-loved Mesh fixture). However, the downside to tweeting and surfing during talks is that it really is hard to fully pay attention to the speakers. I found I would actively listen for awhile and then whent the speaker either said something good that I had to tweet or conversely started to bore me, my attention would turn to my computer and even after finishing my post I found it hard to follow, let alone regain engagement.

I consider myself and expert multitasker, so I'm dubious that even todays hird-wired youth can adeptly pull both off simultaneously. Granted, some conferences and classes I have attended have been so killer boring that if attendees stay awake that is a huge victory.

This was the first Web conference I've attended in over a year that had free and working WiFi, so the experience of live tweeting, blogging & IM is relatively new to me - although it is now a conference mainstay (many moderators at Mesh announced the sessions hashtag before commencing). I enjoyed tweeting during the conference immensely, I don't intend to stop, but I am curious its impact, particularly in education settings, on learning.

My Twitter feed is syndicated on the right column of my blog. But as the experience of live, running Twitter commentary was relatively new for me I thought I'd include my Mesh tweets below:

At #webgood of #mesh09 on how use web tools for good, but why aren't these used (largely) for web issue of accessibility for disabled users?

Tip to encourage online participation. Spacing gets story ideas from commenters, recruits them to write articles & has local parties

Spacing has writers who know how to write a blog post that generates comments -- I could use their advice

@sachac session went well but would been good if 1 panelist was from nontraditional learning eg. corporate learning as you mentioned

Attending #mesh09 listening to talk about Web, while IM friend, monitoring Facebook, Tweeting session & working on blog. Perhaps too wired!

People organizing pillow fights downtown don't send PR to Star but to blogs so cover it first - but do we need to cover this at all?

Hyperlocal media don't get much local advertisers (too small ad budget & not web savvy)

#mesh09 session on hyperlocal media aren't doing quality investigative local journalism, but good at aggregating user generated content

Sachua asked for speakers of #meshlearn to wrap up in 140 characters or less.

Relate to Sachua's #meshlearn point: Net allows one share school research beyond just teachers. As student like that my work is out & useful

good point at #meshlearn Canada's digital divide not just boonies but hour from major cities only dial-up or nothing so school can be vital (about 21 hours ago from web

not finding current session of #mesh09 useful - but keynote by Jessica Jackley from Kiva worth coming to entire conference. Inspirational! (about 21 hours ago from web

#meshlearn need integrate tech & education. True but today's Western youth adept at tech, perhaps school should be bastion other ways learn? (about 21 hours ago from web

At #mesh09 had great lunch, got great seat with power & leg room - think I'll stay in this spot for all sessions regardless of topic