The morning after the conference

The morning after the conference
: In some ways, the weblog conference just finished didn’t quite know what it wanted to be. But that’s because weblogs still don’t know what they are.

As Doc Searls says:

It wasn’t a Big Time conference, but it was a culture-changer. Blog is Rock, in many ways. And the show had a lot of Rock & Roll to it.

: It was shocking to me that there were no big online companies there — no AOL, MSN, Yahoo, Comcast, eBay, Amazon, Sony and even TiVo. I asked for a show of hands. No hands.

Various of them are looking at blogs and they all could benefit from blogs in exciting, even amazing ways. Here was an opportunity to sit in the room with scores of blog pioneers and learn, but they didn’t bother. These companies may think blogs are simple — and on one level, of course, they are; their extraordinary simplicty is what makes them successful. But on another level, there is a lot of subtlety in how the community works: how it isn’t one community but is instead a huge mess of a ven diagram of overlapping and interlocking interests; how it isn’t really a community but only acts like one and how it’s really a giant mediaplex instead; how it shares and also polices itself; how it measures its success and quality; how it makes unexpected connections; how it connects real people in real life; how it can be used for the needs of not just technies and pundits but also companies and families and classes; how it affects all those big companies….

Boat missed. I can tell you what you missed.

: I don’t know what I’m complaining about. I should be proud that my big company is one of the few that’s getting it.

: This will sound like your usual blogrolling ass-kissing huggyfest note but it’s not.

One of the great things about coming to a get-together such as this is that you do meet such smart and nice people. David Weinberger is a treat, as brilliant as he is charming (and humble). Doc Searls is the gentleman genius. Dave Winer is irrascible when he needs to be but is more than anything generous; he believes in spreading this gospel. Dan Bricklin is the youngest legend I’ve ever met; he created it all.

I could keep going on but the point is that I knew and liked and respected these people before I met them. I knew them better than I know some of my own friends. And that’s because I read their weblogs.

Weblogs don’t lie about the webloggers who write them.

That is how this mediaplex acts like a community: Because you get to know and like (or dislike) people through what they see and what they say and how they say it.

And this is also a world where any friend of his is a friend of mine. I met new people here whose weblogs I haven’t read but who like the same webloggers I like. Best example: Beth Goza of Microsoft charmed the entire conference with her enthusiastic and intimate knowledge of the value of community content and interaction (and her Segway stories). So this linking thing works not only with weblogs but with the people behind them. A conference is a blogroll brought to life.

: And, by the way, David Weinberger gets the final words on why Always On is not a blog, why it matters that it is calling itself a blog, and how it could become a blog if it (read: Tony Perkins) cared to try.