While I was away at the tech conference

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Hi. It’s been a while. I was out of town at the SXSWi conference in Austin Texas. I was on a panel and hung out for a few days on either end. I went to a few libraries while I was out there. I also got to spend some time with David King who was the only other librarian I crossed paths with besides the gals at the librarian meetup which I missed because it overlapped with the MetaFilter meetup. David and I took in the exhibit floor and spent some time trying to explain to vendors why they might want to exhibit at a library conference.

I talked about “user revolts” on the panel I was on which included Gina from LifeHacker, Jeska from SecondLife and Annalee from io9 and many other locations in the blogoverse and elsewhere. The notes for my seven minute talk are here, just some backgrounder on MetaFilter and a timeline of some things that happened. I was surprised how many people who are newer at managing online communities (I’ve been working at MeFi since early 2005) were still grappling with how to deal with comments and user civility issues. I got to talk to people at Dogster and YouTube about what works and what doesn’t work to keep things under control. I also got to hang out with a lot of my “old school” blogger friends — where old school means you started your blog last century — and catch up with a lot of people who rarely come to my neck of the woods.

There were keynote talks by Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook (which went quite badly, check YouTube or the blogs for specifics), Frank Warren from PostSecret and Jane McGonigal from The Institute for the Future. Henry Jenkins and Steven Johnson gave opening remarks and talked a lot about how the nature of information and how we learn is changing and how we are shifting towards “lifestyle democracy” towards openness in more of our lives and shared experiences. It was good food for thought, especially as I tangle with tech issues and the digital divide here at home.

And, there was Twitter. When I’m at home, I like to keep an eye on Twitter because I like feeling there are other people working when I’m working, and I like to keep up with Libraryland and Bloggertown and my sister and random internet celebs in small doses. When the Eliot Spitzer news hit, I heard about it on Twitter first. Twitter told me when the parties I was walking towards were already filled to capacity. And, when I left my camera in a hotel lobby my friend who found it Twittered that he’d left it at the desk within ten minutes of me noticing it was missing. Now I’m home where my cell phone doesn’t work and catching up on news and bird feeding and teaching a Getting Started with Excel class. I’m heading to Michigan on Monday to give a talk at a Teaching Technology in Libraries workshop and then turning back around where I’ll be home in Vermont for most of the rest of the month. My Austin photoset is here and includes many nifty library shots (oooh Gutenberg) in addition to the standard “this is me at the hotel bar drinking with geeks” sorts of things.

I’m putting together a few more posts, one about SWIFT and one with the links I’ve seen that were worth a mention over the past week. I realize this blog is sometimes turning into “hey I was gone and now I’m back again but I’m leaving soon…” and I’ll try to do something about that.

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