General · 2008-08-26

The swinging shindig that was Gnomedex 8.0

What a trip my first Gnomedex was — I think I’m hooked. It’s Chris’s happening, baby, and it freaks him out! (Think he can be convinced to dress up full-Austin next time? I did notice a bit of a shiny-jacket trend in the crowd.)

Lots of people have done roundups, so I’m mostly going to be lazy and point to Beth Kanter‘s, which gives a great sense of the breadth, the depth, the value, and the occasional silliness of this event. I was very glad to meet Beth and to see her demonstrate, right in front of our eyes, the principles she was teaching. Really, the two-plus days were a virtual parade of interesting people, compelling stories, and cool tech.

Speaking of virtual… Gnomedex’s sheer level of online+meatspace social connectedness was something new for me. The 8.0 community feeling started early, with the @gnomedex Twitter feed. It continued with the conference badges that came with a social network. It got really strong while several hundred people watched the conference from home on the video feed (archive) and hung out on Twitter or in Chris’s chat room. (I daresay this feeling wouldn’t have been possible without the single-track setup.) And it continues even now. I mean, I tweet, and I speak at conferences, but I’ve never before sat down after giving a talk to find that dozens of people — some in the same room and others a world away — have just started following me. Delighted to meet you all! (Admittedly, I also exchanged business cards with some folks during coffee breaks, the old-fashioned way.)

I’ll post some thoughts later about my talk on online data-sharing relationships. But, staying “meta” for now, I’ll just send you to one more roundup, Micah Baldwin’s 3 Rules of Gnomedex 8.0, which I think nicely captures what made it special. Quoting will just spoil it, so just go ye and read…