I’ve been to several tech conferences in the last six months, and I can’t count the times I’ve been disappointed to find that a presentation that sounds interesting is either deadly boring or a poorly-disguised product pitch. Even when I was on the advisory board for the last Emerging Technology conference, I was surprised at how often the exciting pitches we approved ended up in lackluster talks.
So, when I was asked to speak, I tried to make a presentation that I would personally want to watch. I picked a topic I cared about and researched it to death — library research, original interviews, and plenty of web dumpster diving. It was a blast, and reminded me of what I missed most about college.
The topic: I’ll be speaking about how and why virtual communities meet in real life, from ham radio to modern online communities. It’s a topic that’s interested me since the BBS era, which I’ll also be touching on. I’m very deliberately not talking about Upcoming.org or anything else Yahoo-related.
Whether it’ll actually be interesting to anyone else but me is up in the air. This is my first solo conference talk and I’m terribly nervous. Hopefully, I’ll be able to hide it well enough so that the material doesn’t suffer. Anyway, I’ll link to responses as they come in after my session, so wish me luck!
July 21: This is my first Webvisions, and it strikes me as both very intimate and very well-run. My talk went very well. So many people have asked to see my slides that I’m going to write up some of my research and do a screencast of my talk.