Friday, June 16, 2006

Vloggercon Thoughts

One and a half years after the first vloggercon was held in NYC during a blizzard, the second vloggercon was held in San Francisco this past weekend. The first vloggercon was planned, named and held on a whim. Early vloggers just wanted to meet face to face. At hat time there were under 100 people putting video on blogs, and you could watch every single video from each person. The Yahoo! mailing list was manageable back then with a digestable number of messages.

Since we were all meeting in New York city, sessions were put together for attendees to share info on all the new developments in vlogging. This first vloggercon had a live video stream and IRC chat, and you can still go back and watch all the sessions online at:

The second vloggercon had a two day schedule and was filled with panels of speakers, buffered by 15 minute breaks between them.

The conference location was only available from 12:00 - 6:00, so that shortened the time we had to spend together and magnified the urgency of trying to keep everything on time.

I arrived the afternoon before, and met Casey McKinnon and Rudy at check-in. We went to lunch on Chinatown and got to know each. Fun.

Amanda, Casey and Steve
After that, headed over to a Meet the Vloggers event at the SF Apple Store. This was a lot of fun, with the people who wanted to learn about vlogging a some vloggers on the theatre, with a huge gathering of vloggers talking and chatting behind the theatre. After that lots of people headed over to Schlomo's bar, House of Shields, and had a grand time. Lots of people hung out outside once the band started up, I went up stairs to get a closer look and take some pics. American Heatbreak rocks! I'm glad they agreed to fill in at the last minute and I wish I had gotten a chance to speak with them.

Bre Pettis joined me for breakfast at Sears and we had a good opportunity to catch up and talk about working together.

On day one I attended a number of sessions. At one of the sessions, Dave Winer, inventor of the un-conference bloggercon, sat down beside me. When Dave plans conferences he believes that there is as much or more intelligence sitting in the room as there is on stage and likes to have a discussion amongst all those in attendance. I like that too, and had hoped that we'd be able to bring that idea into this year's vloggercon.

For better or worse, we had 500 people attend.

So on day one the sessions followed the standard panel/speaker presentations with a Q&A session following. As Irena as for anymore questions from the audience, Dave said to me, "no questions!"

It's hard to change. Dave wanted to hear more from the audience.

I went to Bill Streeter's session on how to record live bands. This session was held in a smaller room and gave the audience a better chance of participating in a discussion. That might be the key to the next vloggercon. Smaller sessions.

Puccini & Pinetti
At the end of day two I went to dinner with some Rocketboom crew that I don't usually get to see much. That dinner went on until 10:40 PM, so I didn't make it to the Click.TV party or to Schlomo's after party. I heard it was fun.

On day two I stayed outside and in the halls instead of going to the first session. I brought along my camera and took a lot of still photos and immediately posted them up on flickr. That was a lot of fun since it allowed me to meet a lot of vloggers that I didn't already know. The wiFi was amazing, having 4 T1 lines in the hall. Amazing job by MonkeyBrians,net, et al.

Vlogger Media Frenzy
The second session was jammed packed, standing room only, so I stayed out in the hall for that one and again met a lot of people. Lots of people go to conferences and never even go into a session. They stay out in the hall. I'm thinking that this was a pretty good idea, especially since all the sessions were recorded and are going to be posted to the web by the hard work of Ryanne Hodson and others. Thanks!

The first session I attended was on oral history, and I enjoyed that very much and got a lot out of the speakers presentations, and jotted down some good links on oral history sites and guides to help interviewing techniques.

One other thing I heard in the halls was that people were leaving to go to lunch. With only afternoon sessions, that was too bad since they'd miss a lot. I ate a big breakfast each day so I didn't have to go to lunch.

The final session of vloggercon gathered everyone in the big hall with Michael Verdi and jenny Simmons leading a discussion on what next? Where do we want to see this all lead?

I thought it was a fantastic discussion. I'd would have liked to see more and also would have liked to have more of the people say who they were when they spoke. I found myself asking who was speaking on the IRC and for those who couldn't be identified, I went up to them after to find out who they were. That session proved Dave Winer's point that there was a lot of intelligence in the audience. Especially when if was apparent that Michael Meiser wanted to talk. Messier doesn't vlog and doesn't really have a picture on his blog, so were were all surprised to see what he looked like. When he approached the mic, there were chants of Meiser, Meiser. Next vloggercon I'd like to see him run a session, a discussion. As it was, he was leading discussions out on the sidewalk.

Good stuff.

At the end of day two, it was dinner with whole slew of people at a nearby restaurant with the people. They'd planned for a private back room, but the vloggers soon took over the whole restaurant.

Up next was and Irish Bar and/or Karaoke, but it was getting late and I had a flight to catch the next day, so I called it a night.

I'd proposed having a session like I run in Boston at the Boston Media Makers meetings, where people all share what they are doing, videos they like, present show and tells and give technical tips.

The format of the conference didn't support that, although I could have signed up for a small room to run that kind of session.

I'd like to see the next vloggercon run all day, include more of the un-conference style discussions, and include more sponsored cocktail parties where there's an opportunity for more mingling.

The revolution continues.


  1. holy crap, spell check steve... there are too many nad's instead of and's and that is only the tip of the iceberg... aside from that.. great recap!

  2. Josh,
    I just spell checked. Hope this makes you happy.

  3. You make some really good points, Steve. As an organizer of the event, I definitly feel that sessions needed to be more open to the audience-- but my opinion only goes so far.

    For instance, you were one of three people on the Community Videoblogs session, and it rarely opened up to the audience. How do we as organizers step into the middle of your panel to tell you guys to open it up? By interupting? Organic processes are the always the most maliable..

    What made this event different was the sheer numbers of people who attended who have never been to a tech conference. They wanted tutorials as well as discussions... its a fine line to tread: trying to keep everyone happy.

    But we try!

  4. Ok, I should have spellchecked as well...

    "Organic processes are *NOT* always the most maliable.."