Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I just got back from Supernova in Washington DC. It was great. It was great hanging out with old friends, making new ones and meeting online friends for the first time. It really reminds me of the "good old days" of The Source. At the party, people had to tell each other their IRC nicknames to recognize each other.



"oh! I'm mamamusings"

"oh! hi!"

Or in the case of bloggers:
"Halley. As in Halley's Comment"


Now there are three tiers of relationships. Normal relationships, people you know through their blogs and people who you know from IRC. I felt a little bad about the people who are not "in" this network because I'm sure a lot of our chatter and giggles were meaningless to them, but IRC is pretty open and inclusive so I decided not to worry about it.

Many of us were on IRC during the conference. I didn't get the hecklebot done, but there was a great deal of heckling going on on IRC. There is definitely a kind of attention drain in the room when everyone is on IRC. There is even more attention drain when the panelists are on IRC. ;-)

I thought about this a bit and my conclusion is that in most cases, it is better to let people be on IRC (or some other chat room) during a conference. Several reasons. If people are bored, they will do something else anyway, like sleep, do email, pick their nose, whatever. At least IRC keeps everyone semi-focused on the time/place of the conference. As Kevin Marks says, the problem with conferences is that only one person (usually) can speak at one time. On IRC everyone can talk at the same time. This is inclusive and useful. People can post useful links, give feedback to the speaker without interrupting them and everyone can contribute. One of the most important reasons for going to a conference is networking and meeting new people. The best way that I've found for meeting new people is saying something smart. It's easy if you're a speaker, but usually you have to ask some intelligent questions so people want to talk to you. IRC is great because it give everyone an opportunity to say something smart during the conference. It also lets people get to know each other during the conference without having to escape into the lobby and miss the conference entirely.

Kevin Werbach, the organizer was a good sport about all of this. He hung out on the IRC channel himself and let Liz put the IRC channel on the screen during the wrap up. It will be interesting to see how these social software tools get integrated into conferences by conference organizers themselves. There is something "naughty" about unauthorized back channels that make them fun, but better integration and more reliable connectivity would probably make them more useful. It's also easier to include everyone if it's run by the organizers. I can't remember who said this, but "in the future, the room will be the back channel for the IRC chat."

I guess my next goal should be to get a hecklebot into Davos.

My TypePad weblog is live and thanks to design help from Mena, it "feels" like this blog, but is light and clean. Let me know what you think. I'm considering making TypePad my main blog.

I'll cross post for awhile, but lets keep the comments on this blog so I can keep them in one place until I do the final export.

Hally and Liz dancing with the belly dancer
Photo by Jason DeFillippo
We had a party in DC the other day. It was great seeing everyone. Thanks for coming. Special thanks to people who contributed on the wiki page and especially to rojisan who coordinated the venue.

There are some great photos on Jason DeFillippo's blog.

People are using digital cameras and camera phones in Japan to photograph pages of magazines and books instead of buying them.

Starting on Tuesday, bookstores across the nation will put up posters urging magazine readers to "refrain from recording information with camera-mounted cellphones and other devices".

I know several people who use digital cameras as document storage devices. Just yesterday, I saw a very cool camera mount for taking pictures of documents with your digital camera. In the context of copyright, there are some very interesting issues here that tie into the whole area of photography copyright.

via imajes via #joiito bot blog

My plane took off, flew for an hour and did a U-turn. Electrical problems. We're switching planes now, but I'm stuck in Japan again. Anyway, I've created a tentive outline of stuff I want to talk about on the panel. Please take a look and feel free to comment. It's here.

I got this idea of using a wiki from Cory